Thursday, December 21, 2006

'Paris Syndrome' strikes Japanese

Dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what's become known as "Paris syndrome"...

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pay per post is a no go

My friend Farhan forwarded me a link to Rockstartup (web 2.0. reality TV…). They are following up “the Internet's next monster company” “from its initial concept to international fame.”

I do not like the concept of pay-per-post at all.

If you are a business, you cannot win. A blogger can trash your product and get paid for it. A blogger can rave about your product but who will believe what he/she says? They are being paid after all. There is an irreconcilable conflict between providing independent opinions about a product and being paid to talk about a product. You just cannot be independent if you are paid by the company those products you are reviewing. As a customer, who are you going to trust? If there is no trust, what is the point to get bloggers talking about your product? The whole think sounds desperate. Are your products so bad or insignificant that you need to pay people to talk about them? If you want to be seen on blogs, join a blog advertising network or Adsense.

The only upside is that you get nice text links in context to your site, thus boost your search engines ranking. Other than that: avoid.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sony PSP: All I want for Xmas is a real blog

Sony America has admitted that a blog from "real life PSP fans" was in fact part of a marketing campaign. Sony: "Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP."


Friday, December 08, 2006

Children swap music via phones

A survey of almost 1,500 eight to 13-year-olds found almost a third shared music via their mobiles. via BBC
Will the music industry push for a tax on mobile phones or children

YouTube? You Leave!

StarHub employees fired and disciplined for " misconduct in our office premise" after posting funny video clips on YouTube. Via ChannelNewsAsia.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

BBC: My science fiction life

The BBC is running a special feature on Science Fiction on its website. You can submit your favourite book, comic, film, TV series... The highlight is a science fiction Flash timeline from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to "Children of Men". You are invited to contribute and send your recollections/comments on science fiction classics. I cannot get the Flash version to work in Firefox or Explorer so here is a link to the static timeline, organised by decades.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

NY Times: The Future of Online Advertising Is in the UK

I am in the Big Apple today for a workshop on Marcomms/Netcoms integration. Just read this in the NY Times: "Online advertising is racing ahead in Britain, growing at a roughly 40 percent annual rate, and is expected to account for as much as 14 percent of overall ad spending this year, according to media buying agencies. That is the highest level in the world, and more than double the percentage in the United States". See NY Times article which has more interesting data comparisons.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Need help with UK regional accents?

Listen in to the diverse voices of the British Isles: 1,200 people talking about language – slang, dialect, taboo words, accents and all sorts of subjects. Only on the BBC.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Virtual communities as important as real-world counterparts

The Center for the Digital Future surveyed 2,000 US based individuals about their attitudes to the web. Some results from survey respondents:
  • Web consistently outrank TV as major source of entertainment and information
  • Respondents spent an average of 8.9 hours a week online (1 hour more than in 2005)
  • 43% feel"as strongly" about their web community as they do about real-world friends
  • Each respondent made an average of 4.65 virtual friend this year
  • 40% were using the web to stay in contact with people
  • 37.7% believed the web allowed them to communicate more with friends and family
  • 12.5% maintain their own website
  • 7.4% kept a blog
  • 23.6% posted pictures online

Report abstract (in PDF)

Human brain responds to strong brands differently

Strong and recognized brands create activity in parts of human brain linked to self-identity and reward, according to a study by a team of German scientists. Article.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Guy Kawasaki's Venture Capital Aptitude Test

Should MBA grads get into Venture Capital? Guy Kawasaki has a wonderful answer:

"Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning. It should be your last job, not your first one."

Find out why on his blog post and take his Venture Capital Aptitude Test.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ING Direct: the art of breaking bad news

The Bank of England raised the base rate from 4.75% to 5%. ING Direct decided not to follow this increase for their saving rate. As an ING Direct customer, I was of course disappointed... until I received this email:

"At ING Direct we want to offer all our customers a consistently good rate. On this occasion this means we have made the decision to maintain our ING Direct Savings Account interest rate at 4.75% AER*.

While some people may be willing to follow headline-grabbing rates, we know from talking to our customers that the majority prefer their savings to be earning consistently and want to relax knowing they don't have to constantly check Best Buy tables. "

I feel more relaxed now as I know I will be earning less but consistently so. Thank you ING.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pontiac Motoratilife in Second Life

A cryptic title to link to the Pontiac Motoratilife blog covering the company's activities in Second Life. Jimmy Kimmel, car races and mashup DJs. Nice program.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Every Bond Movie Trailers

Watch trailers from every Bond movies. Courtesy of Kevin Kelly.

French more active European bloggers according to Forrester

  • 3% of online Europeans blog.
  • France, Italy and Spain combined = 57% of European bloggers. Germany is only 13%.
  • France leads the pack with one million active bloggers (don't know how they define "active blogger").

Could not find the original survey online. Anyone?

Article in French on Journal du Net.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Be a winner, not a sinner!

This post may only appeal to Londoners who pass by Oxford Circus on their way to work or shop. One man has been a stalwart of the West-End landscape for nearly a decade: he has a megaphone and relentlessly preaches about Jesus with his famous catchphrase: "Be a winner, not a sinner" to the amusement and irritation of anyone at hearing distance., a satirical online community is running an interview with London’s most famous street-preacher. While I will keep my non-beliefs to myself, I am encouraging you to read this excellent interview to discover the man behind the apparent madness. Thumbs up for and Phil: they both try to make the world a better place. One by making us laugh and the other by making us think.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

UK's fourth largest religion, Jedi Knights demands UN recognition

In the 2001 UK Census 390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi Knight making it the fourth biggest belief in the country. Now they are delivering a protest letter to the UN for official recognition. May the force be with them.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Blogging in Europe: Brits least aware, France rocks, blogs more trusted than television.

Research by Ipsos Mori found that only 50% of UK residents have heard of blogs compared to 90% in France, 58% in Italy, 55% in Germany and 51% in Spain. Other findings from the research:
  • 30% polled consider newspaper most trusted media, 24% favoured blog, 17% television and 14% email marketing.
  • 52% said they are more likely to buy a product if they have read a positive review online.
  • 34% said they opted-out of buying a product because of negative reviews online.

Press release here. Article here. First read in PR Week, 10th of November.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Euroblog 2007 Survey

If you are a Public Relations or Communications practitioner and working in Europe, please take part in this survey and share your opinion on the impact of weblogs and social software on public relations and communication management. All participants have the opportunity to register for a free summary of the results at the end of the survey. Survey link.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I want a winepod for Christmas

A winepod is a state-of-the-art fermentation, pressing, and ageing personal wine making unit. It is designed like a cocoon, packed with interactive features (you can control temperature, post videos, connect with other winepod users...) and it holds 57 litres of wine (average consumption in UK is about 12 litres - 49 liters for France - so you and your friends won't run out.. of good things to say about the Winepod).

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Dark Side of Social Media

Rohit Bhargava comments on the risks for consumers to be turned off from blogs, who supposed to be genuine voices but who are increasingly tainted by "flogs" and "astroturfing". His 5 lessons:
- Be as transparent as you can
- Don't be affraid to admit you are marketing,
- Understand who your detractors are and assume they will always hate you
- Make sure you have supporters that will fight for you
- Listen, participate and respond

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Add social bar on

VideoWrap has written a nice piece of code to insert into your template to allow your readers to automatically bookmark to Digg,, ReddIt, Slashdot, Furl, Newsvine and Yahoo. I am trying it on this blog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The nail that stands out will be hammered down

The Internet Society of China has recommended to the government that bloggers be required to use their real names when they register blogs. CNN Technology.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Teenagers, MySpace, Google: the tale of an imperfect web

Dr. Sam Vaknin writes on how Google, MySpace, Blogspot and Wikipedia feed on each other and distort natural positioning in search engines. For example if website A has 700 incoming links from 700 different websites and website B has 700 incoming links, all of them from various pages on MySpace, website B will be ranked higher in Google's search results.

He concludes that since MySpace users are predominantly teenagers, they are the ones who control which websites feature in Google's first results, therefore control the web.

Via Steve Rubel

South Korea invents the "wifelogger"

Korean housewives are keen on blogging. They are known as "wifeloggers", earning fame and apparently US$2,000 monthly on average from their online diaries . See article on Channel News Asia (Singapore). Interesting facts about South Korea (SK):
  • 2/3rd of SK's homemakers are online
  • 300,000 are active bloggers
  • Internet users in SK prefer pictures over text and videos over still photographs
  • They spend an average of 47 hours online every month, highest after Israelis and Finns.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Nissan won defamation lawsuit against French blogger

Stephanie Gonier is an ex-Nissan executive. She took parental leave and was unhappy about how she was treated when she came back. She started a blog where she recorded her story including scans of her correspondence with the company, culminating to her dismissal. Nissan took the matter to court. While the tribunal acknowledged her right to self-expression, she published personal data about her colleagues, violating their right to privacy and was accused of defamation.

Via Liberation (in French)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Advertising and the end of the world

Fantastic documentary from Sut Jhally that was shown in an elective at school. A video preview can be found on Youtube as well as on the Media Education Foundation website.The documentary’s main points can be found here .

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Wal-marting across America

Business Week runs a feature on “fake blog” Wal-marting across America. A few years ago, many A-List bloggers woke-up up the PR world to the blogosphere with calls for transparency and genuine engagement. I learned a lot from them. Today, most comments on this story revolve around disclosing your relationships with your clients, or any parties central to the topic of your blog, disclosing being paid for blogging or sponsorship as well as lack of response from interested parties. I don’t have enough information to comment and I don’t want to (my employer is a competitor to Edelman so it will be misinterpreted) but surely we should know better by now?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Web overtakes newspapers in Europe

According to Jupiter Research, Europeans spend four hours per week online on average compared to three hours reading newspapers and magazines. France, which has the highest rate of broadband access, has the highest average number of hours spent online per week.

I tried to locate the research paper, an abstract or even the original news release on Jupiter's website but I was overwhelmed by cluttered information, poor usability and slow response time.

via Brand Republic

Youtube: a message from Chad and Steve

The rumour is confirmed. Google did buy Youtube. Is that the end for Google video? A message from Chad and Steve: thank you, we'll develop more functionality, all for the community. My personal note: I followed youtube since the beginning and I am addicted. Don't turn it into advertising galore and keep the edge. Well done.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Current TV comes to the UK next spring

Current TV is like youtube, but on television. It's user generated, there are editors who choose what goes on air but mostly people vote for what they want to see and it's a pretty unique experiment. It's founded by Al Gore (the man who invented the Internet then redeemed himself by saving the planet through his excellent documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" - which I cannot stop recommending to any living being unfortunate enough to cross my path).

Current TV is coming to the UK through BSkyB next spring says the Sunday Times. Another bastion of old media falling under users' control.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bournemouth University's CEMP is wiki-ing too!

Following on my post on Standford's wiki, David Phillips pointed me to the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice's wiki from Bournemouth University.

One of my favourite feature is the "dialogue box", a visual forum where you can see which way opinion is swinging, and individual comments. I like the interface and see that working well for some online polls for marketing clients.

I am taking this opportunity to apologise for my lack of frequent (and quality) postings to my readers. Juggling work, studies and family life is hard and often what gets sacrificed is social life, offline and online.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

All talk, no digital

Campaign (UK print edition, 29th of September) is running a special report on "how good are advertising agencies' digital departments". It is a topic close to my heart as I spent 4 years with Grey Interactive in Paris then London. In a nutshell, the report is a tale of deception. There is much talk of integration but few agencies have credible in-house interactive capabilities or truly partner with their digital counterparts. It is rather ironic considering that back in the late 90s, we all thought that the stand-alone full service interactive agency would have disappeared by now, absorbed by big ad agencies who would have wisen up to the trade. Reading the report, it seems pretty far off. Here is Campaign’s verdict. The first figure is how the agency rates itself, the second how Campaign rated them. 1 is for poor, 7 for outstanding. For the narrative bit, you’ll have to buy or steal the magazine.

  • AMV BBDO: 5/3
  • BBH: 7/6
  • CHI: 6/3
  • DDB: 6/5
  • Euro RSCG: 6/3
  • Grey: 5/3
  • JWT: 3/2
  • Leo Burnett: 5/3
  • Lowe London: 5/2
  • M&C Saatchi: 5/4
  • McCann Erickson: 4/3
  • Mother: 6/6
  • Ogilvy & Mather: 6/6
  • Publicis: 4/4
  • RKCR/Y&R: 4/2
  • Saatchi & Saatchi: 4/4
  • TBWA: 5/2
  • WCRS: 5/4

I’d like to see that for PR agencies now. PR Week anyone?

Monday, October 02, 2006

kartoo: visual search engine maps your search engine results. I like the interface and the connections between search results.


Monday, September 25, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I saw it last week-end in London. It certainly doesn't leave you indifferent. Read the facts on the official website, check-out the blog for updates, go and see the movie or rent the DVD when it will be released. Invite your colleagues, your friends, your family, and your children. Spread the word and help make a difference before it is too late.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

I am not blogging in India...

In case you wonder why I am so quiet, I am doing a study trip with the London Business School in India. It involves doing an audit in a local company for a week with presentation to their management and to our school. While in Mumbai, I had the pleasure to meet up with a fellow PR practitioner who happens to read my blog!
I am back in the UK next Thursday.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Download free books with Google Books

Google launched Google Books. Full download is restricted to public domain books (copyright free or expired). It is similar to Project Gutenberg which has 19,000 free ebooks for download. Google's value is that you can search any books like you search websites.

Search Engine Watch does a great review of the service.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Myspace users balk at phony profiles, advertising

There seems to be growing complaints about Myspace getting "too commercialised". We are talking here about fake profiles "in which brands can create their own pages and have their own friends list". It reminds me of Mazda or Captain Morgan.

Rachel Honig, from Digital Power & Light comments: "(...) at some point the fictional character isn't going to be able to interact with you anymore, and the novelty will wear off (...) As a marketer, it's all about creating a long and meaningful relationship with the consumer, and if you leave them feeling sort of cheated, as it were, that's not helping."

The Online Media Daily points to a Universal McCann survey that found that only 10% of users said corporate messaging in blogs "can add value to my experience."

How web 2.0. aware are you?

My colleague Guy sent me this "web 2.0 Awareness test".


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Advertisers wary of advertising on social networks

New Media Age (Print edition – 24.08.06) carries a short article on how major advertisers are wary of putting ads in social network sites. The main concerns are that brands could be seen in an "inappropriate context" and could be “destroyed by teenagers”. Control, control and old models...

I like Jeremy Verba’s quote: “Brand marketers will go where the audience is (…) when MTV and cable TV launched, advertisers didn’t want to be there.”

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Google Myspace deal

Google will provide search and ads to MySpace. Peter Chernin, president and COO of News Corp: "The real potential for a home run is combining Google technology with our demographic information".

Article on Marketing Vox

Thursday, August 03, 2006's extra cheesy pitch video to Subway goes viral

I came across this story through Steve’s bellicose posting. I started to write a contrarian post to defend’s much mocked-after video pitch to Subway, diligently posted on Youtube for the world and its viruses to enjoy. However, after reading comments on AdFreak, Adrants and on Youtube, I changed my mind. There is ground for reputational damages.

I thought that the clip’s cheesiness was a cultural trait but to my relief, most bloggers across the pond found it heavy to digest too. Yet, I do like the idea of doing a pitch video of a team doing a pitch video and I can see while a client would like to work with such motivated, jargon-savvy and enthusiastic team. There is nothing remotely interesting happening throughout this 9 minutes movie. It’s like watching “The Office” without the irony. Yet it was viewed 20,720 times since it was posted 2 days ago (that’s a big number). It attracted 170 comments (that’s big too, even if we minus the agency’s staff). It certainly didn’t let its viewers indifferent... and that is the snag: this viral effect was fuelled by derision.

This will impact’s credibility and could drag Subway’s down too, by association. A perfect example: Coudal, a Chicago based integrated agency made a spoof video where they take the piss of’s movie while spitting out Subway’s sandwiches. I could see that easily snowballing into an & Subway spoof video parody frenzy. Both brands will not escape unscathed. I hope that gets the business to bring a happy ending to this.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The London Blogging School

London Business School launched its own blog. It is designed for MBA applicants who want to know more about life as part of the London Business School community. The site is managed by the MBA Admissions Team with content provided by students and alumni.

Very proud!

Via Divine Miss N

Advertisers' opportunities in video-games

Following from my previous post on in-games advertising, I found this video from bruceprokopets showcasing different ad formats for video-games. Nice work and there is a CNBC report thrown in too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Youniversal Branding: in-games advertising and online communities

A superb and comprehensive report from trendwatching on opportunities available for brand in games and virtual worlds. There are several case studies mentioned but I will just highlight some numbers here:
  • More than 100 million people worldwide log on every month to play interactive computer games (source: NYT, December 2005).
  • Gaming is, for gamers, the third-most-popular use of media entertainment in the last week, after watching TV (96%) and listening to music (94%) (source: Mediaedge:cia, December 2005).
  • In 2005, advertisers spent approximately $56M placing ads in video games, up from $34 in 2004.
  • In-game advertising results in a 60 percent increase in awareness for a new product and animated 3-D ads achieve twice the recall of static billboards (Nielsen Interactive Entertainment)

It's me and me again!

I rarely comment on my public speaking engagements or publishing mentions but I decided to be more upfront. So with a total lack of subtlety, I am pointing out to two recent contributions: an article on blogs in Corp Comms magazine and a merit award for Atticus, WPP's thought-leadership magazine for the piece I submitted to Global PR Blog Week 2.0. last year. Apparently it will be published in the next issue.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It has been a long time...

Since my last post. I have been incredibly busy with work, travel (for work) and studies, finishing my third term core courses exams. Two words: corporate finance... I am starting my electives with our summer school, and it does feel like summer. Nothing to do with workload as we have courses throughout the day, and often assignments to hand out for the next day, but because we are enjoying the heatwave that is striking the UK. I am very much looking forward to my first weekend without any homework sine the beginning of this year and will be back blogging next week.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's France v. Portugal in the semi final!

And they did it without stamping on any Brazilian! The sky is the limit now... I see a France v. Germany final, which doesn't bode well for us as we always struggled against the Germans (no pun intended here).

Chinese blog more popular than Boing Boing

The directory of wonderful things lost its crown as most popular blog to an online diary by Xu Jing Lei.

Friday, June 30, 2006

5 reasons why social networks fail, succeed

Tristan Louis gives us 5 reasons why social networks fail and 5 reasons why social networks can succeed.

I would add that social networks can fail or succeed depending on whether they attract the right type of crowd at the first place, then balance members quality and quantity. Example: if you and your friends joined a social network, only to find out that the coolest kids in your class are on another one, will you switch? Most likely because cool people will attract more cool people. This networking effect is behind the success of Linkedin, who has many members at VP level and above. So if I were to look for a job, would I go to the place where VPs hang out or just any social network as long as it has loads of functionality?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Geoportail: exclusive picture

I managed to get as far as the homepage. One day I hope to click on these promising maps of exotic places such as St-Martin, Wallis and Futuna or even "la France continentale".

Monday, June 26, 2006

Geoportail offers closer look on France (when working).

The French government launched a rival to Google Earth in France with more detailed maps and photographies of the French territory. The service, a joint project by the National Geographic Institute and the Office of Geological and Mineral Research is called Geoportail and it went down a few hours after launch due to an"unforeseen number of visitors". I wanted to use this post to question the role of public funds v. private sector for such initiatives or highlight the lack of an English translation on the temporary error message but I am in a bad mood and rather keep my praises for the actual service, when it will work.

Geoportail offers closer look on France (when working).

The French government launched a rival to Google Earth in France with more detailed maps and photographies of the French territory. The service, a joint project by the National Geographic Institute and the Office of Geological and Mineral Research is called Geoportail and it went down a few hours after launch due to an"unforeseen number of visitors". I wanted to use this post to question the role of public funds v. private sector for such initiatives or highlight the lack of an English translation on the temporary error message but I am in a bad mood and rather keep my praises for the actual service, when it will work.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cannes Lions Advertising Festival Slams Google on Failure to Build Brands

From Publishing 2.0. quoting an article from the FT where the Chief Executive of Mediavest USA admonishes Google for not putting enough branding in its search results. Google and Yahoo! push back and argue that traditional agencies and clients need a bit more "self education".

I understand Mediavest's concerns: they are not making a lot of money when their clients spend their media budgets on Google AdWords v. TV or online ads. And yes, most advertisers are still in the dark as to how AdWords work.

Yet, to advertisers 1.0's credits, their brand (and clickthroughs to their sites) would certainly benefit from having pictures or videos displayed in search results. Google AdSense already does that with click-to-play video ads. When searching for designer perfume, to use Publishing 2.0. 's example, I could tolerate some visual ads in the sponsored results. This is the thin line between providing me with relevant information and enticing me to click and as long as these two do not contradict each other, why not? Note of caution: I would recommend Google to test whether its users would accept seeing Google’s purist white layout turned into a billboard before wide-scale rollout…In the meantime, advertisers will have to relearn writing compelling copy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Marketing to avatars: American Apparel opens in Second-Life

American Apparel opened a store in virtual world Second-Life (via Micro-Persuasion)

Business week ran a comprehensive article last month on Second-Life highlighting business opportunities and how companies are seeing more than fun and games when looking at virtual worlds.

Harvard Business Review has an excellent article on "Marketing to Avatars"

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Italy 1 - USA 1

I just caught the last half of the Italy v. US game. I usually tend to cheer for the underdogs and it is not very often that the US are underdogs but in football. They really fought it and came to a draw (thanks to Keller among others), earning a precious point to keep them in the cup. Congratulations to my american friends and readers. Now you've got a reason to watch the "soccer".

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pentagon to tap social networks?

The National Security Agency is funding research into harvesting information people post about themselves on social networks and online communities and could possibly combine these with other data to build extensive personal individual profiles. Sounds like a big brotherish conspiracy theory but the Centre for Research on Globalisation that published this article states the New Scientist as it sources. We know who you are hAcKEr345!

Social Media: Big Numbers

From ComScore Media Metrix, unique visitors in may 2006:

  1. MYSPACE.COM: 51,441,000
  2. 14,792,000
  3. FACEBOOK.COM: 14,069,000
  4. YOUTUBE.COM: 12,669,000
  5. MSN Spaces: 9,566,000
  6. XANGA.COM: 7,146,000
  7. FLICKR.COM: 5,163,000
  8. Yahoo! 360°: 4,936,000
  9. LIVEJOURNAL.COM: 3,904,000
  10. MYYEARBOOK.COM: 3,048,000
I am lazy to copy it but look at ComScore Media Metrix's press release as it also includes the top 50 websites in the US per number of unique visitors. You'll need these figures the next time you try to convice a client that there is a world outside press releases.

First seen at Steve Rubel's.


Tagfetch retrieves and displays on one single page all content listed on various sites for the tag you are searching for. Handy time saver.

Via Steve Rubel who retrieves and displays on one single blog all new applications you are searching for. Handy time saver.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Diet coke + mentos = unhappy brand managers

There has been a renewed interest in practical science recently as seen in hundreds of video clips demonstrating that if you drop a mentos into a bottle of diet coke, a natural chemical reaction occurs and turns a refreshing carbonated beverage into a spectacular geyser. The story was even featured in Monday's issue of the WSJ. Coke's reaction has not been very enthusiastic: "It's an entertaining phenomenon ... [but] doesn't fit with the brand personality of Diet Coke". I sympathise, it is a far cry for Diet Coke's more feminine and sophisticated image. But it is very entertaining. Rich Smith thinks Coca Cola should capitalise on this user generated trend instead of snubbing it.

Yet another example of consumers 2.0. derailing a campaign from traditional advertisers' carefully laid out tracks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is the blogosphere too US centric? Technorati's World Cup's tags say no.

Today's Technorati's hot tags:
  1. world cup
  2. Zarqawi
  3. Microsoft
  4. Football
  5. soccer
  6. Iraq
  7. Bush
  8. England
Given football's popularity in the US, we can assume that:
  •, the Nike - Google's social network for football fans is becoming popular,
  • US brands are integrating blogs into their world cup themed sponsorships,
  • Like the World Cup, the blogosphere is becoming a global level playing field.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blogger spreadsheet screenshot

Got my invite yesterday. Unfortunately, I had and have very little time to review it. It looks to be comprehensive enough for basic Excel usage though. I haven't located the charting options yet but the sharing options are shown on the right hand side. Instead of a thorough review, I am posting a pretty picture (typical marketing guy really...).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia... the fear of number 666!

Today is the 6th of June 2006, the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year... If you suffer from Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the fear of number 666, you should not join thousands of bloggers who pushed 666 has the hottest technorati tag today. Unfortunately, it will be harder to avoid "The Omen"'s remake and the launch of hundreds of books, albums, parties with a "number of the beast" theme.
Al Lewis sums it up nicely: "It's good day to hawk books, films, CDs, beer or anything else - because if there's a devil, he's got to love marketers". See his article.
If 666 is the number of the beast, did you know that:
  • 670 is the approximate number of the Beast
  • /666 is the Beast Common Denominator
  • $665.95 is the retail price of the Beast
  • 666 F is the oven temperature for roast Beast
For more insights into 666.

Google launches spreadsheet application

Sneak peek here. I am a heavy Excel user now, thanks to the London Business School so I will definitely try it when it is released to compare. Noteworthy from Google's early description:
  • Choose who can access your spreadsheets.

Just enter the email addresses of the people you want to share a given document, and then send them a message.

  • Share documents instantly.

People with whom you share a given spreadsheet can access it as soon as they sign in.

  • Edit with others in real time.

Multiple people can edit or view your spreadsheet at the same time as you - their names will appear in an on-screen chat window.

  • Edit from anywhere.

There's nothing to download; you access your spreadsheets from any computer with an Internet connection and a supported browser.

  • Never lose your work.

Online storage and auto-save mean you need not fear hard drive failures and power outages.

Via Damien Mulley

Monday, June 05, 2006

No man is an island

Cheyenne Morrison sells private islands for a living and has a blog. Just what the doctor ordered for a monday morning in the office.

Create technorati tags automatically in Blogger with Greasemonkey script for Firefox.

Works for Firefox.

1. Go to a consuming experience
2. Follow instructions

Cheeky monkey but if I can do it, so can you. It's simple and well explained.

Friday, June 02, 2006

7 millions French web users read a blog once a month

According to Mediametrie (French audience rating agency), 27.6% of French web users visit blogs at least once a month. . 4 millions wrote comments and 3 millions created their own blog.

Most popular blog platforms are Skyblogs (from radio station Skyrock) with 4.17 millions visitors, followed by MSN Spaces (2.95 millions visitors), OverBlog (2.32 millions), Six Apart (1.87), Blogger (1.56) and BlogSpirit (1.3).

Article in French at

Mediametrie report in PDF here (en francais)

Problem: One thousand paintings and counting.

Sala is a young artist living in Zurich. He paints 1,000 paintings representing numbers 1 to 1,000 and sells them on his website. The price is computed as the difference between 1,000 and the number represented. Discounts apply but decrease by 10% for every 100 paintings sold. Sala's website was picked-up by Boing Boing and Seth Godin's blog, both high traffic blogs. The local Swiss press ignores him. Sala calls it an experiment in mathematics and art. Joel thinks he is brilliant.

How long will it take him to sell one million pixels?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nikon Owns Flickr

At least for the time of an ad campaign, where Nikon banners will be displayed on Flickr and a dedicated Nikon gallery will showcase Nikon pictures. Mediapost highlights that it is the first time a major campaign (outside Yahoo! search ads) runs on Flickr. Steve Rubel thinks the move could alienate non Nikon users as photo enthusiasts tend to be loyal to one brand.

I agree. Flickr is a community and therefore belongs to its members, not to a single brand. There is a danger of backlash. While I like the idea and I am sure Nikon will run a great campaign, my advice to whoever is running it is to make sure the campaign is not too intrusive and respect the community spirit, as would any members. Seth Godin's permission marketing principles come to mind: an opt-in to see ads on Flickr for community members is now needed.

Newspaper Industry: Deep Depressing Dive

This is how Merryl Lynch titled its report on the US newspaper industry. The culprit? media consumption habits are changing (more screen, less paper) and advertising/classifieds business is moving online. Interestingly, the report's analyst think that when they push their online services, newspapers are underpricing. My personal experience talking to newspaper ads sales guy is that they will throw in the online ad if you book ads in their paper... Time to rethink that business model.

Via Mediapost

I enjoyed reading more about this from Adhurl who thinks Mr. Murdoch ultimately has a plan (MySpace?) and Maddie Hanna.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bloggers can shield sources from Apple

A year ago, I blogged about how Apple was forcing some bloggers to reveal their sources via the courts. Apple won the first ruling but a court of appeal just reversed that judgement: bloggers, like traditional reporters, have the right to keep their sources confidential. See article on

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

LSE Study: WOM drives business growth

The London School of Economics (LSE) compared the results of a telephone survey on a random sample UK consumers against the 2003 and 2004 sales data from companies mentioned in the survey. They found that word-of-mouth, both positive and negative were statistically significant predictors of sales growth.

  • A 7% increase in WOM advocacy (willingness to recommend a product) unlocks 1 per cent additional company growth.
  • A 2% reduction in negative word of mouth boosts sales growth by 1 per cent.

See press release on LSE's website.

BBC News: wrong expert interviewed

Guy Coma went to the BBC to attend a job interview as an IT manager and ended up being interviewed live on the Apple v. Apple case when he was mistaken for Guy Kewney, editor of

He looks a bit baffled (to say the least) but managed to answer three questions...

Story on BBC
Video on ">youtube (thanks to another Guy for the link).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Trends: Search Analytics

Google just launched Google Trends and I already like it. You can visualise search volume for up to 5 queries over time. You can sort results by years, cities, countries and languages. You can do comparative searches. See my example on comparing searches for French cars in France. It seems to match with market shares.

The bonus is that Google maps news stories (from its Google News service) on the graph so you can see correlations between news and searches. A news volume graph is also displayed underneath the search volume graph.

Google explains that the results are extrapolation from a sample, therefore cannot be entireley accurate.

Considering that 81% of consumers aged 30 to 64 years old use the web to research products or services (Pew Internet Survey 2005), I can see Google trends being used for "share of searches" (share of voice) over time to assess popularity of brands and products or look at the impact of marketing campaigns. It is fair to assume that more people should search for a particular brand after an awareness campaign is being aired (or PR through media coverage on Google News). You could roughly compare how this trend matches sales volume.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

YouTube launch mobile upload service

YouTube members can now shoot video clips with their mobile phones and e-mail them to YouTube, where the clips are automatically posted under their profile. Another step in the citizen media direction. And the announcement is already in Technorati's top ten searches.

Via cnet

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Newspaper sales dip, but websites gain

According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspapers circulation declined 2.5% in the six months ending March 31 compared to the same period last year while visits to their websites grew. Story on USA today.

Via Micropersuasion

Wired online video guide is a must read

Wired put together the definitive guide to online videos and vlogs in its May issue.
See the new networks for video portals, Watch this way for animations, diaries, documentaries and vlogs for... well for vlogs.

As a bonus: a guide to making your own clips.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The impact of blogging has reached a tipping point

See article on BBC online from Julian Smith, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. Noteworthy quote:

"When a company's marketing story differs from the one being told by online consumers, a credibility gap will emerge that could have dire consequences on brand perception and favourability. "

Biggest task is alignment then but that often goes way beyond PR agencies remit...

BTW, I just came back from a fantastic social media event organised by my colleagues and friends at Digital PR in Milan. More on that Monday when I'll have more time to blog (study, study...)

Monday, May 01, 2006

AQA: Any Question Answered

If you live in the UK, you can text any question you have to 63336 and get an answer back. The service is provided by Issuebits Ltd and combines search technology and human researchers. When meeting someone for the first time, try texting "who is" and their full name" to get a lead in the conversation.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google sketchup gives a second life to Google earth

Google just released Google Sketchup, a free 3D modelling software that allows you to create objects (house, trees, spaceships...) you can import in Google Earth and share with others. Business 2.0. thinks that Google could venture into Second Life's territory. As it stands, the application currently lacks the avatar creation, animation and interaction that makes second life literally come to life. But it could be a step in that direction. It is also a clever way to get users more involved, both in time spent and emotionally with Google Earth, beyond its initial novelty factor. Inviting other users to visit your house will certainly contribute to increase Google Earth's network effect and draw in more users/more usage. I wonder if this will kick-start a range of new virtual careers, a la Second Life where talented 3D designers could sell their architect and builder talents to others, or cunny businessmen will start trading real estate or set-up shops. May be this is a new beginning for the stillborn virtual shopping mall trend of the mid-nineties :-) Anyway, I'll give a go at building a new home in the coming days...

Via The Business 2.0 blog

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New World, Old France. Nouveau Monde, Vieille France

French journalist Thomas Blard posted on his blog a video interview of Nicolas Baverez, an economist and historian who authored the 2003 best-seller "La France qui tombe" (Falling France). Nicolas Baverez talks about his new book "Nouveau Monde, Vieille France". The interview is in French only but if you speak the language, I strongly recommend it to understand what is going on with the French today.

Amazon Wikified

The New York Time (you need to register) reports on how Amazon is boosting its user generated comments capability through product wikis to complement its shopping experience with a social experience.

See comprehensive article on the Motley Fool

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

American Express: 15 seconds film CGM competition

Amex invites consumers to create and submit 15 seconds clips around "aspirational themes" such as childhood ambition, proudest moment, perfect day and so on. There are some pretty good and amusing clips already posted there (see director Dane Boedigheimer's wildest dream: being hit by an asteroid...).

ComVu broadcasts live from Phone to Web.

Steve Rubel comments on ComVu, a new service allowing people to broadcast live video from their mobile phones. This technology (which I have not tested yet) sounds like a major milestone in reshaping the traditional media landscape to a consumer generated mediasphere. It could potentially turn the billion mobile phone owners into TV broadcasters. This will prove challenging for media rights owners. Picture me going to a football game and broadcasting it live to my friends (provided I have a good seat, a good camera phone and some snappy comments, I could compete with some paid-to-watch sports channel :-). Bloggers can already provide live coverage but nothing replaces the emotional impact of watching an event unfolding live before your eyes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

IPA Q1 2006 Bellwether report: Advertising, sales promotion and direct down, online marketing up.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has released its Q1 2006 Bellwether report. From its press release :
  • Marketers cut traditional media budget for the 6th quarter in a row,
  • Only 22.7% of marketing budgets were increased for 2006-2007 (the lowest percentage since 2002)
  • Online was the only media to have budgets increased in Q1 ; the strongest gain since Q1 2004.

I am reproducing a quote verbatim from Sir Martin Sorrell which sums-up clients' mood:

“The IPA Bellwether report confirms our experience. The UK remains one of the weakest geographical markets at the moment. But new media and new technologies are growing rapidly as clients experiment with different approaches and question the value of traditional media.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bonjour America: French arrogance explained

I came across this funny video blog from Cyrille de Lasteyrie, a French blogger who dreams of meeting Clint Eastwood. French are perceived as arrogant, especially across the atlantic (and pretty much everywhere else too...). Why is it so? Cyrille has the answer: it has to do with French and English grammar. French puts a name before its adjectives in a sentence (a cat blue and sleepy) while it is the reverse in English (a sleepy blue cat). So when an american talks to a frenchman, the latter gets impatient because he is waiting to understand what the story is about... Got it know?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Chevy Tahoe Apprentice Campaign: Results Published.

The excellent Church of the customer blog has obtained statistics on the Chevy Tahoe campaign:

Of total submissions to
  • About 84% have been straight product-pieces favorable to the Tahoe
  • Of the remaining 16% of submissions, the majority are either anti-SUV (as a category) or the creator is using the ad as a platform to promote a specific cause or defame a particular group; a minority of submissions directly attack the product
  • 4 million page views
  • 400,000 unique visitors
  • 22,000 ad submissions
Read the full post there.

It is quite commendable that Chevy share their campaign results.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Consumers 2.0: Mash-Ups

After writing about the “media” part of “consumer generated media” for the last year or so I thought it was time to focus on the “consumer” part too. The topic of the day is: mash-ups. Why? Because I was amused by my friends’ puzzled look when they heard the Beastie Boys colliding with the Bee Gees on my Zen player. I figured out that it was time to do my part to bring this topic further into the marketing mainstream.

Mash-ups are becoming increasingly popular with our favourite target audience: Millenials (and some Gen-X too). Bloggers took over the news by adding their own comments to create new meanings. Media and technology savvy consumers take over cultural products such as movies or music to enhance them, to create something more personal or just for fun sake. Newsweek ran a good feature on mash-ups last month. It’s easy to see why mash-ups are becoming so popular: they are cool.

Audio mash-ups
To make an audio mash-up: mix the instrumental version of your favourite track with the lyrics of another song. If you are musically adventurous, you can take different elements of different songs to create a brand new track (Eminem vs. Stereo MCs vs Eagles anyone?). The best part of it is that all can be done on your PC which affordable software, a bit of time and a healthy dose of talent. A guide on how to create mash-ups is available here. Look at Wikipedia if you are interested in mash-ups history. I personally like PartyBen or Instamatic’s mash-up of Madonna’s ubiquitous single “Hung-up” (“If Madonna calls, tell her I am not here...”). Look at Mashculture too for new releases.

Movie mash-ups
Mash-ups are not only about music. Did you ever think the movie Fight Club could become a romantic comedy? What would happen if Toy Story met Requiem For A Dream? Here again, affordable and user-friendly technology contributes to unleash creativity and give consumer control over content. Check out Mashupmansion or youtube for more.

Web mash-ups
You must now be all familiar with web mash-ups so I won’t spill much electronic ink about them on this post. has a web 2.0. popular mash-ups list.

I believe that mash-ups are another genuine consumer 2.0 trends which is likely to get bigger and bigger. The Beastie Boys published acapella version of their albums on their website, invited their fans to remix them, and posted the new tracks on their online forum. As a result, the Beastie Boys are among the most sampled artists by mash-up DJs. Consumers love it, it creates a lot of positive WOM and certainly helps boost their album sales.

However, mash-ups could pit consumers and corporations’ interest against each other. What about copyrights? What happens when the mash-up is more popular than the original? What are the benefits for the content originator?

A lot of these questions are being asked when talking about open source. This trend could call for a rethink of the movie or music industry’s business model. Let me rephrase that to set expectations right: mash-ups will get increasingly popular with consumers and as a result we will see plenty of lawsuits.

From a marketing standpoint, I can see immediate applications for mash-ups to reach millenials but I am still trying to reconcile mash-ups’ value with company profits. I need to articulate my thoughts on this and I’ll post more on that later. Your comments or suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chevy Tahoe's apprentice: you bloggers are fired!

Apparently, Chevy is pulling-off some of the monster online commercials it inadvertently infanted with its Chevy Apprentice campaign. Cnet posted some of the best satire ads on its website. So did other bloggers. The contest rules specify that "any attempt to undermine the legitimate operation of the contest may be a violation of criminal and civil laws." B.L. Ochman wonders if Chevy will be sending out cease and desist letters to bloggers. She has a another good point too: knowing how popular SUVs are with environmentalists, and how web savvy campaigners are, it would have been quite naive to expect participants to restrict themselves to editing clips of large four-wheel drive vehicles negotiating tricky turns on icy glacier roads to the tune of some hard rock soundtracks. I bet these clips will be haunting the web for a while.

Thanks to Guy for the tip.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chevy Tahoe: when CGM goes wrong

The marketing guys at Chevy decided to ride the Consumer Generated trend and invited budding film directors to create “the best Tahoe online commercial”. You can register there to take part.

Sounds like a good idea but unfortunately some cheeky consumers felt a little too empowered and started subverted the marketing machine.

Check this clip out or this one while they are still online.

Via Twist and Shout Comics

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Google Romance?

While researching the paper industry's value chain for my strategic management assignment, I came across a welcomed distraction: Google Romance.

Could it confirms Google's rumoured business strategy: to throw as many new business ideas as possible against a wall to see which ones will stick? Could Google's mighty search technology really be harnessed to mend and match broken hearts?

No. It's an April Fool's joke.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

School 1, Blogging 0.

Not much blogging at the moment and it is likely to remain so for the next week. I am working intensively on my second term exams (micro-economy, marketing and corporate strategy) and the pressure is mounting between group assignments and individual exams. As you can imagine, studying on top of working is eating most (all) my free time and unfortunately, blogging has been the first casualty.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Media consumption: surfing web officially overtakes watching TV

Brits spend 164 minutes online each day, equal to more than 41 days per year, compared to 148 minutes or 37 days for TV viewers. Government statistics shows that 64% of adults regularly go online. See article on Google survey from BBC.

I am going to ask one of my all time favourite question again: why is online media not getting a fair share of media budget compared to TV or newspapers? When will marketers get it? I ranted about this a while ago following an unofficial survey I gathered from Millward-Brown, one of our sister agency. There are no rational reasons.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wal-Mart enlists bloggers for PR campaign

My colleague Niall pointed me to a NY Times article (dated 7th of March if you don’t have a subscription and look for the print version) revealing that Wal-Mart uses bloggers to push its communication agenda. How did the NY Times found out? Several bloggers enrolled in Wal-Mart’s PR program regurgitated almost verbatim most of the statements they received from Edelman, Wal-Mart’s agency. They did that often without naming their sources of their relationship with either company.

This excellent article raises some valid questions about bloggers’ “independence” and what they should disclose to their readers. It seems to me that on the long-term, bloggers who churn out press-releases or have affiliation with companies, but do not disclose them will loose their readers’ trust, thus deflating the very own reason why they were worth engaging with at the first place. From a PR standpoint, it provides an interesting challenge: how to drive communication agenda with bloggers while preserving their authenticity?

Disclaimer: Edelman is a respected competitor to Hill & Knowlton, my agency. This post does not cast any judgement of value but is aimed at stimulating discussion on relationships between PR professionals and bloggers.

Who needs RSS when web users 'only visit six websites'?

According to a research published by Diretgov, half of UK internet users regularly visit just 6 websites on average. 95% also say that they go online with a specific destination in mind (what happened to "web surfing"?).

Steve Rubel thinks that this could explain why RSS hasn't taken off yet. I agree, most people don't need to keep a watch on dozens of websites or blogs, so see little use for an aggregator or feed system. The fact that RSS feeds are not user-friendly enough for the average web users doesn't help either. This could confine RSS to innovators or professional usage for a while.

Via Steve Rubel

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If Microsoft designed the iPod packaging...

What happen when you sit in a room full of marketers... or how to value simplicity.

I read about the clip via Seth Godin's blog but he linked to it through YouTube, which is down for maintenance. You can see it on Google video instead.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Steve Micropersuasion Rubel joins Edelman and Harold Burson launches blog

Today is a remarkable day for both the PR community and bloggers:

Google buys Measure Map to bring web analytics to blogs

It seems that Measure Map is not even live yet... but since they were bought by Google, we expect that their services will be good and probably available as a free tool like the excellent Google web analytics.

According to their site:
  • Measure Map helps you understand what people do at your blog, and what influence you are having on the world.
  • Easily navigate the numbers that matter
  • Track links to see who sends you traffic
  • Find out what people do at your site

See Google's blog announcement (is that the end of the press release?!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

McDonald's is open for discussion

I was so busy with work and study that I missed the launch of McDonald's corporate responsiblity blog. Shame on me! Shel Israel (the co-author of Naked Conversation) posted his recommendations on how to improve it, and in the same stroke, laid down the simplest and best communication rules for corporate blogs I’ve seen so far.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yahoo! and AOL to charge for emails

It is fair to say that Yahoo! and AOL's plan to charge businesses for ensuring that their emails are not delivered to their subscribers' spam folders has not been as well received as it could have. The Red Herring summarises what is at stake quite well. And The Onion concurs: "this is going to drive small companies like info@jckibffydmh right out of business!"

Monday, February 06, 2006

Google Removes German BMW Site

According to Techworld, Google removed BMW's site from its index because of search results manipulation. The BMW page listed in the results was redirecting to another site, with different content (also called "cloaking"), which is a violation of Google's quality guidelines. That shows that Google means business when it comes to maintaining the integrity of its search engine listing. Story first broke on Matt Cutts' blog.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Seat guru: Is the future of flying experience pricing?

As mentioned in my last post, Valla Vakili from Yahoo! presented at our internal workshop on folksonomy. One website I found noteworthy was seatguru.

Thanks to the web, we can now compare prices easily and quickly before any purchase (think kelkoo) so consumers can find out whether they are being ripped-off or not. This took a lot of power out of travel agents and airlines who could charge pretty much what they wanted before and gave consumers the upper-hand in negotiation.

Seatguru doesn't compare prices but passengers' experiences flying in different aircrafts, from different airlines. I found out that if I flight Lufthansa on an A333, seats 45 A, B,H and K don't recline as much as other seats and get all the traffic from the gallery.

Now that I am armed with that knowledge, can I negotiate a better seat or a cheaper price since my flying experience won't be as pleasant as others?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Despite all odds, I survived food poisoning, corporate finance and NY last week.

The last 2 weeks have been pretty hectic for me. I started my 2nd term at school and the workload increased massively... especially corporate finance. Playing with figures is not my forte and I am struggling to keep pace. I had a busy time at work with a large pitch and preparing for an internal workshop on social media in NY. I was hoping to spend a few days there but came down with food poisoning (culprit: prawns) just before leaving so had to postpone my flight and shorten my trip. I couldn't do much while ill. I am now back in London, tired and slimmer.

Nonetheless, my time in NY was put to good use. First, we had the opportunity to hear from Jeff Jarvis at Acquavit (great food, great service). Jeff shared with us his views on how blogs are impacting traditional media. When talking about bloggers, his advice to PR agencies was to get out of the way, which we will of course not take :-) On the second day, we had three other external speakers:

  • Nick Desai from Juice Wireless on mobile communication in the US. Although I am not a specialist in mobile communication, I realised that Europe was a few years ahead of the US in terms of brands using mobile phones in their marketing. It must be a frustrating situation for Nick, to see cool stuff happening here while having to go through a lengthy educational process with clients in the US. This is the situation we face in Europe with social media :-)
  • Elizabeth Talerman from Campfire talked about branded entertainment. This is the team behind the Sega Beta-7 campaign with Wieden+Kennedy so I listened. They presented the art of heist campaign they ran for Audi. Pretty good stuff, very guerilla, seamlessly integrated and the experience they create is very compelling for consumers because it provides a lot of fun. And it delivers ROI too.
  • Valla Vakili from Yahoo! showed us how Yahoo! is embracing social media and gave us a great overview of what folksonomy is about and what it means for brands. With loads of cool examples. So cool that they will be promptly recycled, with credits due in my future presentations.

I will try to share some of these insights and these examples over the next few days, when I will digest them, now that I can.