Category Archives: Video and TV

IKEA do it again with Store View (and how shit hot Scandinavia is when it comes to digital)

We’ve had Google street view, and more recently the racy Diesel island view, but now we’ve got IKEA Store View.  It’s a nice piece of interactive work by Forsman & Bodenfors to launch a highly anticipated new IKEA store in Vasteras, Sweden.

Let’s not forget the kind of mad excitement a new IKEA store can generate in a neighbourhood, and this is all about capitalising on that sentiment.

Visitors to the site can get a 3D sneak preview of inside the store covering a staggered 40,000 meters. They even get to meet the manager, ‘Freddy’ with hidden competitions throughout the store to win IKEA goods.

Ikea are consistently innovative when it comes to digital, and Scandinavia are shit hot when it comes to online work. In fact, this view was confirmed when I watched a Mumbrella interview by foul-mouthed but bang-on Mark Comerford at Hyper Island, a digital “creative leaning academy” in Sweden.

He puts this down to the region having pretty much universal internet access, followed by ubiquitous broadband access, meaning digital companies are used to having this powerful infrastructure to play with. He also says Sweden is used by UK and US companies as a test-bed for new apps and technolgoies, to see how they’ll play out in this highly connected environment. More of this later as it’s an interesting issue for sure.



Leave a comment

Filed under Creativity, Industry news, Social Networks, Video and TV


So I see the old ‘flashmob’ idea has been trotted out again, this time for St Patrick’s Day at Sydney Central Station, courtesy of Tourism Ireland. It featured  the cast of Riverdance – in town at the time – spontaneously launching into one of Michael Flatley’s finest.

But as old-hat as a flashmob is, if it’s well executed and timely like this one, I must admit it’s still hugely entertaining, and has real ‘stop and stare’ value. What’s important here is talkability, and it delivers this in spades, providing it’s about the brand, of course. Here it is in it’s glory:

The real authority on flashmobs is a New York collective called Improv Everywhere. They’re a ‘prank collective’ who aim to cause scenes of “chaos” and “joy” in  public places. Of course, they’ve got the advantage of not always being tethered to a brand, but this is inspiring, creative stuff. Here’s three of my favourites.

Frozen Grand Central Station


No Pants!


The Worst Ice Skater ever

Leave a comment

Filed under innovation, PR stunts, Video and TV

Tropfest – the biggest short film festival in the world

A couple of weeks ago, I went to  Tropfest, the biggest short film festival in the world.

Starting 19 years ago in a Surry Hills bar, the free festival now attracts a shit load of people (around 80,000 I’m told) who gather on picnic blankets in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens to watch 17 short films in the open air.  It’s a big deal. It’s broadcast throughout Australia and has a panel of high profile judges, including this year, Olivia Newton-John.  And here’s the clever bit; each film has to premier on the night, it must be less than seven minutes long, and it must feature a ‘signature’ object, this year being a ‘key’.

I won’t talk about the controversy surrounding the winner (Badger Badger Badger anyone?), but instead wanted to share a few of my favorites from the fest.

SILENCER. Directed by Doug Bayne & David Collins


BIRD THERAPY Directed by Damien Freeleagus


MONKEYS Directed by Joel Edgerton


And here’s the winner, ANIMAL BEATBOX. Directed by Damon Gameau.

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Video and TV

If Facebook was real life – and other amusing videos

I’ve recently been involved in delivering a social media training session with my colleagues Chris Norton and Jono Marcus for one of our clients. We talked about the importance of community, and what this means for a business. Anyway, we used a few videos in the presentation which summed it all up really succinctly, and in a very funny and engaging way, so here goes.


Advertising versus Consumer

Once you start…you can’t stop

1 Comment

Filed under Social Networks, Video and TV

The Dark Art of Viral Seeding

I’ve recently had to investigate the murky world of viral seeding, and, personally knowing little about this “black art”, I approached it with some trepidation. And, while YouTube classics like ‘I like turtles’ can get millions of views, for a brand, with a cynical agenda and restrictions on how far you can push it, it becomes  a much harder slog. So, first port of call was to speak to a number of (inevitability) east London-based agencies, with weird names and trendy, grungy addresses.

However, as I expected, seeding a video is not cheap. In fact, a starting point is several grand just to get your foot in the door. And, given that we’d spent all the budget on the viral itself, we needed a contingency…  so, after much research, and after speaking to lots of interesting people, my team set upon doing it ourselves. And guess what, there’s no dark art, just lots and lots of grunt.

Here’s what I learnt:

  • It takes 30-40 hours to seed a viral properly. There is no substitute for the time you need to put into this. You get out, what you put in, and much of it is boring, boring, boring, so a good opportunity to enlist a keen work experience, or exec, rather than spending a lot of senior time on it.
  • Make your plan and stick to it. And make sure you don’t take short cuts because this will impact on the results. – Focus on easy wins first – so include links to the viral on your company signature, email it to your contacts and clients, put it on your company’s blog, Tweet about it and distribute it to your client’s email database. All easy wins, and a great way to get it out there, fast.
  • Viral sites – there’s a number of viral charts and viral sites out there which, if your viral is good enough, will feature it. This really is ‘job done’ if they do, as it can be a route to get in front of hundreds of thousands of people. A word of warning: if they don’t like it or don’t find it funny, they won’t use it. And I’m not going to give you a list of the sites; that’s what Google’s for.
  • Video sharing sites – again, upload your work to at least the top 15 or 20 video sharing sites. There’s tons aside from YouTube where people will go to search for a specific type of video. Again, no lists, but Google will fill you in.
  • Target social media power users and relevant bloggers. So, if you’re viral is about sport for example, then identify the top 20 sports bloggers and Twitter users to approach. If it’s a spoof TV news interview, then Tweet the station’s reporters. All common sense really. It’s also worth approaching key ‘faces’ on Twitter, so well know journalists, celebs and so on. If Stephen Fry Tweets about it for example, you’ll be getting in front of 1.4m captive people straight away, with his very own glowing endorsement.
  • Finally, PR it to the max – though wringing out PR value from a video can be tough make sure you can create enough of a story to make traditional media interested in it too. Don’t bolt this on afterwards – make sure you plan it in from the outset.

And my next post will be about measuring the success of a video – once I work out how.

Leave a comment

Filed under Video and TV

PR stunts – the real election battle

The past few weeks have been hectic week in PR land as agencies think up increasingly absurd ways to crowbar their clients into the news, using election-themed hooks. As all PRs know, leveraging a calendar event – whether it’s Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or whatever, can be a great way to get positive media coverage for a client. But, it can be a thankless task as journalists get pitched to hundreds of times with similar stories (anyone tried an April Fool’s story recently?) and any idea needs to be really creative, and not at all contrived in order to achieve standout.

Here’s a few stunts that have caught my eye in the last few days.

Pizza Express – the General Election Pizza

It’s a great idea, with some great coverage too, and it links brilliantly with the brand’s key messages. I love the choice of toppings which reflect the big issues of the campaign. So this includes caviar, representing the debate about class and equal opportunities, and dough balls for the national deficit. But, there doesn’t seem to be much online support for this on their website.

Ikea – kitchen desgns for would-be PMs

Again, a clever idea, well executed, Ikea has created the BRUN, KAMERUN and KLEGGI kitchens, matched to the personality traits of the leader. So the BRUN is “durable and prudent for the economically conscious”. The supporting website is also top drawer.

Common people

Not a PR story per se but worth a mention, this brilliant Tory-slating video has now gone viral. Partly due to the fact that it’s extremely funny.

Hallmark Daddy Dance Off

And finally, Hallmark’s efforts. In the interests of disclosure, this is one of my clients, but here’s a glimpse into what the leaders might have got up to in the green room before Thursday’s Leaders Debate!

Leave a comment

Filed under PR stunts, Video and TV

Is VBS the future of all media?

So we’re still all waiting for the revolution – that internet TV will eclipse ‘traditional’ broadcast channels – something TV execs have been predicting for years. But for me, this has already happened, albeit quite late and in not a very interesting way. This realisation was brought about by my own TV breaking; a situation I’ve been forced to live with for two months due to me being too tight to buy a new one. As such I’ve been forced to find alternative, internet-based entertainment, and for me, like many others, internet TV has become a real, and compelling alternative to mainstream broadcasting.

My current favourite is VBS TV, which I compel you to watch. It’s part of the Vice media empire and for those who are familiar with Vice, it’s all you’d expect; vitriolic, irreverent, fashion conscious and youth-obsessed but like the magazine, it also has real substance and depth. Because it’s online, it caters for a much more niche (but by no means small) audience, covering issues that would be considered too marginal or too abrasive for mass consumption. A couple of example headlines include: “Stalking for Beginners” and “A Guy Who Was on Acid for a Whole Year”. So not the kind of things your average Daily Mail reader will be that heavily into.

But these guys know what they’re doing. With cult film director and long-time collaborator, Spike Jonze as creative director, it’s no surprise. The Sunday Times, which ran an interesting piece on VBS, revealed what a massive revenue driver it is for the Group and not just a cool kid vanity project. With VBS launching in 2007, it netted $1m from its first year alone, with projected revenues of $64m for 2009.

In their own words: VBS is the future of all media!

Leave a comment

Filed under Video and TV