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.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Need extra money? become an iPod coach!

Department store Selfridges is to offer lessons on how to use an iPod for technologically challenged customers. £65 for a 40 mins session (that's $115)... That beats giving French lessons for a living!

Via The Register.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blair, Cameron: The Podcasts War

Tony Blair urges The Sun readers to "shop a yob" in the first ever podcast by a British Prime Minister. Not wanting to be outdone, David Cameron (newly elected leader of the conservative party) recorded an exclusive seven-minute podcast for the Daily Telegraph's readers, criticising the plan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'd love this product even if I weren't a stealth marketer!

I stumbled across this funny article in the Onion via the WOMMA blog about a stealth marketer really fired up (for once) about the product he is supposed to pretend to like. A short extract: "Normally, if I were hired to viral market a new beverage I wasn't particularly passionate aboutfor example, that new Coca-Cola drink, whatever it's called—I would just subliminally insert favorable comments in two dozen or so high-traffic chat rooms and be done with it. Only a very special product could make me devote a week of evenings to surfing literally hundreds of chat rooms, gaining the confidence of unwitting users by establishing a base of common interests before casually mentioning how I recently tried the most hardcore, carbonated pick-me-up the world has ever seen." As the WOMMA rightly puts it in their cover article, "you know you made it once you are in the Onion" but these are not the practices we will endorse.

Google Video Future of Movie Distribution?

Google is selling movies, NBA fixtures and TV series on download. Time to sell these Netflix shares.

Tell-a-pal incentivises referrals

Tell-a-pal has put in place a neat system to manage customer referrals and incentive programs on your behalf. They take a 5% commission on rewards value.

Netomat brings mobile phones and PCs together

Netomat is a new social network (another one) but worth mentioning since it allows sharing messages and feeds on both PCs and mobile phones, seamlessly.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sun acknowledges blogging's positive effect

Sally Falkow runs a piece on Sun and how blogging helped the company moved from the 99th to the 6th most popular server company. Jonathan Schwartz is quoted: “Companies need to speak with one voice and be authentic. Blogging allows you to speak out authentically on your own behalf, and in the long run people will recognize that. Do it consistently and they trust you.”

via Micropersuasion

Thursday, January 05, 2006

West Virginia Tragedy Will Damage Trust In Media Even Further

BBC runs an article on how the media brought hope then despair to relatives of trapped miners in West Virginia, US. Jeff Jarvis is quoted as saying "The next time I hear someone being haughty about professional news vs citizens' news, I'll remind them of the West Virginia tragedy, where news travelled ahead of the facts, where everyone was horribly wrong". I second that and feel sad for the families who have been badly let-down by a media race to sensationalism.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Crazy Frog Advertising Irritates But Brings Big Bucks

Jamster's crazy frog commercial has been named the most irritating of 2005. The company spent £45 million on advertising in the UK last year, including £10M in May. That means the frog's annoying moped sound was aired 83 times an hour...

Interestingly, the bulk of media buying went to TV and press with a pithy £39,591 on online advertising. It seems to have paid off though as the frog grabbed over 30% of the UK ringtones market. M&C Saatchi concludes that "traditional media channels remain heavy hitters with UK youth.”

Via a press article on Marketing and the online edition of the Times.

Fortune 500 companies blogging 2

I forgot to add the link to the wiki. Thank you Josh.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year (while it lasts)

According to Wikipedia, 2006 will be:

- The International Year of Deserts,
- The Rembrandt Year,
- The Mozart Year,
- The Tesla Year,
- The International Asperger's Year,
- The year of the dog in Chinese Astrology.

Many psychics, pundits and forecasters predict that 2006 will also be:

- The year when action movie hero Arnold is re-elected as governor of California and military draft is re-established in the United States (no connection here I hope),
- The year when phone calls will be free (a one in three chance that is happens),
- The year when a 9-mile-long asteroid will strike the earth (after the world cup, fortunately)

See USA Today.

I cannot wait, especially for the asteroid part. I already missed the beginning of the world, I wouldn't want to miss the end.

Happy New Year by the way :-)