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.