Archive for May 2008

Oh Boy Obama – crowd sourced campaigning

Barack Obama seems to utilize quite a few social media tools, having many speeches published on youtube, twittering, and of course blogging and a facebook profile. Now he has launched a crowd sourcing platform “oh boy obama“, on which people can vote for projects during his presidency, once he wins the election.

The concept behind these types of services is that by letting users suggest ideas and vet them via a community voting process, you’ll be left with only the ideas that your most loyal customers really want – and that these are things that are most likely to succeed in the marketplace.

The idea is basically the same as for “my starbucks idea“, “dell ideastorm” or even “tchibo ideas” (in Germany). Everybody can submit an idea, users then vote on the ideas, comment&discuss, etc. Apparently, the idea was born out of necessity, but I don’t quite fathom why people might think that Obama has not reached out to the online audience sufficiently enough (as it says in this article).

While I think he does well using all these social media tools, his new platform has one critical flaw as a commenter to one of my previous posts on this type of crowd sourcing noted: the same way users can see the new ideas (and vote&comment), so can his political opponents. And the might see in which direction his campaign topics could be targeted.

Nevertheless, I sometimes wish German politicians would increasingly use these tools…

Social Media in Plain English

Another good one by the guys from Commoncraft:

Musical prank at the airport

Adverblog found this musical prang of lastminute.com which promotes their last minute ticket service for theatres (I think).

As nice as the idea appears, it is (as it often happens in advertising) not a very new idea. May it’s the first time, the idea was used in a commercial. But on YouTube, there are videos of the “prangstgrup” that date back to August of 2006! See this clip here:


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Allianz Football Viral: Ribery vs Toni

The European Championchip is coming soon and you can see how companies like adidas and nike have started to publish all sorts of clips and virals. Now a company rather unlikely to produce football virals has published this 2.5 minute long video of a battle of Franck Ribéry vs Luca Toni:

You can see a company logo in this clip several times, but it is not too obvious. Only once you see this clip, you get a URL that provides more info about who’s behind it:

Once you visit the website mentioned at the end of this clip, you can see it’s done by Allianz, a German insurance company. It’s nicely done, but I am still surprised to see an insurance company go through all this effort to show their logo. But since it’s very entertaining, I won’t ask any more questions ;)

Twitter: why complain about the failures of a free service?

Twitter has had quite a few technical problems lately. Some people take it the humorous way, some even programmed a website where you can check whether twitter is down or not. (reminds me of isitchristmas.com some people have way too much time…)

Twitter has become very popular. More than one million people are tweeting, some are updating their status many times a day. Many people have started using it as an instant messaging tool at the same time. Works fine, and you can even use it seamlessly on the go, on your mobile phone.

But since twitter started having their problems more frequently, people have started to complain. Of course it’s a bummer, if you can’t update your status (even though I can happily pass on quite a few of the statusses some people publish all the time). And it’s even worse if you’re depending on the IM feature of twitter. But heck, if you need a better IM tool, get skype, msn, icq or any of those!

So far, twitter does not take any money for their services, nor is there any advertising financing it. I really do wonder how they make their money? Is it just with the inbound SMS messages? Do they actually include a margin on top of what you need to pay for SMS anyway? I wouldn’t know, because I am sending my twitter SMS from Germany to the UK (where the only twitter number in Europe is available) and I wouldn’t know how much regular SMS would cost in contrast to the twitter SMS.

My question is: can/should you really complain so loudely about the failures of a free service? If their business model was already advertising financed, or if they would charge for their services, I could understand all those people complaining.

But this way, I think people should rather use and enjoy it, while it works, and if it doesn’t, be patient. In Germany, we have an expression saying: “einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man nicht ins Maul”. (Means, basically: if someone gives you a horse as a present, don’t bother checking for its health.)

PS: as I write this, twitter is down once again.

When real life simulates virtual life

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it a few minutes ago. Someone actually simulated an incidence in Second life during a real life press conference. Do you remember the time when, during a second life press conference with Anshe Chung, the whole screen was suddenly covered in flying penises?

Well, now there was a similar incidence – however it was in real life (and it was only one flying penis). I was quite astonished at the fact that someone had the guts (balls) to do this. Someone let this thing fly loose during a press conference of Gary Kasparov (before a security guy smacked it to the ground).

Quite funny, isn’t it. Probably much harder to implement than the virtual flying things, but most likely much more provoking…

Becks wants you to blog for them

Just when you thought that everybody who wants to use a (corporate) blog in their communication has tried (and sometimes failed miserably), Becks opens the bottle and starts a blogger casting.

Here is what they want:

You live by the blog. You have a way with words that hold people captive. And you don’t shy away from being in the public eye. Then we want you. Give your two cents worth, and we’ll give you a handsome salary and other bright perks. Your name and blogs will be seen by many around the world. Others have 365 days, you have 365 entries in a year. You get to work with Beck’s and a congenial creative team in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You might even relocate to a greener pasture. Sounds too good to be true?

Adverblog found a quote from a press release:

“Our consumers actively seek out links to new trends and genuine material from around the globe. They have a desire to learn about people who share the same values as they do. The Beck’s new columnist will help uncover and highlight relevant and exciting topics for our consumers, enabling us to better connect with them.”

The idea is not new, but it could work well for becks, if the blogger manages to connect will with the becks consumer. But there are several possible negative outcomes:

  1. The blogger will blog too much in favour of becks undertakings: it might not be sufficiently authentic and people might stop reading.
  2. The blogger will blog very independently and could soon be a ‘celebrity’, successful even when disconnected from the becks brand. Hence the image transfer to becks might decrease over time.
  3. The blogging could turn out to be extremely boring regardless of the being authentic or not. Again people might stop reading it.

In either case it is a comparatively small investment (at the cost of probably only a few TV commercials) with a large possible upside to it.

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