Saturday 23 June 2012

BBH new British Airways commercial for the Olympics. Work like this only comes along every 20 years. Magnificent.

Now this brought a tear to my eye as it should for ever self-respecting adman. It's a long time since I saw a budget spent on a brand like this since the last big BA "face" commercial, "the world's favourite airline" in 1989. And what I mean by that, is a refreshing commitment to building brands by British Airways and putting their money where their mouth is.

The 1989 "face" commercial did wonders for Saatchis at the time and of course, Director Hugh Hudson and it's at the end of this blog (90" version). This will do the same for BBH - not that they need the applause - because they've proved themselves so many times over. But just for the pride.

What a terrific piece of work this is.

Firstly, it's ideal for the London Olympics and as every brand tries to capture the passion of the event, none will do it as well as this. None. It's the perfect commercial for the perfect brand at the perfect time. Great opportunity with timing.

Secondly, could you ever write a better headline than "London Calling" for BA? Ever? It's a superb line that has heritage. 

Apart from the great Clash (a true, die hard working class punk London Band), it was the title of their third album which Rolling Stone declared as the best album of the 1980's. A Joe Strummer and Mick Jones signature song and it's hard to believe that Joe (real name John Mellor, born in Turkey - swear to god) is dead 10 years.

The track will also remind some Brits of "Germany Calling" the infamous Lord Haw Haw nazi propaganda broadcasts in WW2 from 1939-45.

Those Brits that do remember will make the connection and realise the entendre (it's actually how the song was inspired) thereby, further playing on great days in Britain. So it works across the generations.

But I guarantee you, because of the commercial, "London Calling" will become the anthem of the London Olympics meaning every time it's played, BA will be remembered.

Trust me too, this is not my post rationalisation, this has all been thought of and worked out by the Agency.

(By the way, people still think Lord Haw Haw was Irish. He wasn't. He was American but lived in Ireland and was hung for treason by Britain. Which has been argued as a great miscarriage because you can't commit treason against a country you weren't born in. Anyway, hardly a great loss)

Thirdly, look at the strapline. "Don't fly". Ever see that on an airline commercial? Imagine what bravery it took to get that through. Imagine standing in front of the client and arguing that "don't fly" should be on a British Airways Commercial? Even the suit who did that, deserves mention here. 

What it actually means when you get over the contradiction, is, stay at home to support the British Olympic Team which engenders pride..... But, if ever you're thinking of flying, well, BA is here. Magnificent.

Lastly, look at the pics. Bring planes onto landmark streets (Big Ben) and show how much a part of the fabric BA is. And how convenient, easy it is. Look at the turbulence seat belt gag as the plane follows a London Black Taxi over a road speed bump. And then think how that will work on outdoor, print - a plane on your own street. Great idea.

And by the way, this commercial was premiered on Facebook and not terrestrial TV. Just after WPP's highly paid 67 year old Shorty Sorrell questioned the role of Social Media for brands last week. Wouldn't you think an Adman, albeit an Accountant, would eventually stop this nonsense? 

And why was the commercial launched on Social Media? Because it would be passed around instantly - which it was. Hard to get that free viral reaction on TV Mr. Sorrell without passing around TV's. Don't you think? And don't you think the people who work in your Agencies Mr. Sorrell get that? And want to hear their Accountant owner supporting Social Media since they all now claim to? 

It possibly comes as no surprise that the commercial was created by John Hegarty's BBH whom I've met many times and this certainly is a reflection of their glory days (Levis, Audi). I mean that with affection - they are the stunning UK agency of the last 20 years (started in 1982 and I visited those small offices when they did) who took the "legends" mantle from Agencies like CDP, Saatchis and ABM. I truly hope they get every inch of credit they deserve for this. BBH’s creative directors Justin Moore and Hamish Pinnell worked on the ad with producer Natalie Parish according to Campaign.

ZenithOptimedia handled the media planning and buying, while OgilvyOne and 12th Floor handled digital activity. 

And the client at BA, an airline run by Irishman Willie Walsh, deserves every bit too, for being brave enough to go with it. I hope their planes are full forever.

If ever I wanted to be involved in a piece of work, and I've been involved in a few, this would be it. Without doubt.

Lastly, I can't leave it without the other great BA Commercial from Hudson and Saatchis. Probably never to be overshadowed because of its magic.

But I'd think even Hugh Hudson would hold his hands up and say, "you know what, maybe it just has". Maybe it just has.

Friday 22 June 2012 gets funding to start citizen journalism news. This could change everything.

News is transforming and video of news is transforming too.
Irish publishers already understand the issues and are dealing with it.

But here's a brand new citizen journalism concept called which is stunning. Stunning. Here's the url they're working with at the moment and yes, early early stages.

Just awarded funding by the Knight Foundation, who focus on funding media innovation and freedom of expression. Since 2007, they've invested over 100m usd in new technology ideas although largely with a focus on fostering democracy. They believe that open and honest news gathering, is key to creating a better, open society and so they support ideas financially, in that space. And I'm pretty sure, on a non-profit basis. 

The Knight Brothers themselves, are former US Newspaper owners, so they understand the role that news plays. Indeed, we've seen the role of social media news recently in nurturing revolution through the Arab Spring, Syria and others.

Felipe Heusser is the driver behind and he was motivated when student protestors took to the streets of his home, Santiago, Chile, last year. He felt the press covered the darker side and to give his fellow Chileans a more "unfiltered" view, he attached his iphone to a helium balloon and sent it high above the streets, live streaming the events back to a server. (photo thanks to Niemanlab).

Within an hour, it was viewed by 10,000 and then, he saw the mainstream media embedding his content in their own websites. In fact, I saw the footage on Sky News for example. That event inspired his idea to extend it through and now, he has the funding to start it.

Using mapping too, it allows you to view live streamed citizen journalism of events across the world. And, by embedding Twitter feeds for example, allows others to make comments on what they're seeing. Importantly too, he can encourage more citizens to get to something that's happening and start filming to stream it back.

This changes everything.

They are creating an App that's quick to open and immediately starts streaming the footage back. Which also means, that if the Police take your phone it won't matter, the footage has already been streamed back.

Although not trained journalists as such, this type of video news has massive potential as more and more citizens sign in and start filming. A new TV network based on news gathering. And they'll extend to other events such as Concerts, Sports, Traffic or anything making it real easy for others to watch exactly what's going on - as it happens.

Apart from the high and lofty democratization ideals, utterly important as they absolutely are, it has the potential to be a real game changer. 

There are issues - libel potential being only one, copyright being another - but there are also no limitations. is possibly the new face of news. Or one new face.
They have an idea, they have funding, it works (we know it does because Streamabout is a live streamer too) and we expect to see it within months.

Congratulations to the Knight Brothers too for having the foresight and more importantly, for giving something back in encouraging businesses like this.

A stunning leap forward.

Remember, you heard it here first.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Wayne Rooney is in trouble again. This time they're banning his tweets.

Advertising standards people, is there no end to them.

With nothing to do, having spent a lifetime banning TV/Print/Radio Ads, they've now decided to enter the digital space and banning a Twitter Ad for the first time. This is the thin end of a wedge and marketers need to get on top of this before it gets out of hand. Again.

Banning Twitter? This had better be good.

I have blogged recently about guest tweeting for Snickers, WorldIrish and how it went wrong for VisitSweden here

Now along comes Nike UK who, legitimately, get soccer stars to endorse their products and tweet about them. One none other than recent superstar Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), who having returned from a two match ban scored the winner in the European Championships to get England through to the Quarter Finals.

Nope you're wrong, Ukraine did not score. (well, not really).

It happened as part of Nike's "make it count" campaign because Wayne didn't clearly explain that his tweets were Ads (which they weren't, they were tweets from a player who endorses Nike. Anyway, move on.)

And here is the grossly offending tweet that went to his 5m followers;

My resolution - to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion... #makeitcount

Arsenal (a small English club you've probably never heard of) midfielder Jack Wilshire did the same and directed followers back to the Nike site.

The Advertising Standards Authority started an investigation (honestly, an investigation).

Let's think that through. Let's be investigators for a minute. Advertising investigators. Exciting isn't it?

Firstly, I see a Nike poster all over the place (as the one at the top of this blog). It's for Nike. It features Wayne Rooney. I'm going to have a long shot here and say I think Wayne Rooney endorses Nike. Call me crazy but I'm just going to have to go with that hunch.

Secondly, the tweet is @waynerooney so I'm thinking yeah, probably is him. Could be another wayne rooney? Maybe a mispell? Nah I'm going with the footballer Wayne Rooney.

Thirdly the tweet mentions a Nike site. Hmmmmmm. Wild guess, but I'm saying it's an Ad. For Nike.

Expect me to feature hugely in the next Sherlock Holmes adventure.

But the UK Advertising Standards Watchdog (sic) investigation found that the messages were "agreed with the help of a member of the Nike marketing team". Case closed then. Wow! Imagine the high fives after discovering that. Go, Ad investigation team, Go!

They're saying in essence that there was nothing in the tweets to indicate they were Nike Ads and so that's a problem. The Nike web mention didn't give it away then? And for the first time they've banned a Twitter campaign.

How many complaints did they get you ponder? 1,000? 100,000? a 100? Nope, just the one.

There's talk too of forcing endorsing celebs to use the hashtag @ad instead. Which, if they read the rules of Twitter, would know that you can't do that - users own their own tweets and frankly, they can do what they like with them.

What we do have to do is to stop this intrusion into digital by jumped up civil servants who think they're the "watchdogs" of our very being. They've destroyed advertising in part and now they're looking for something else to do.

An endorsement of a brand by a celebrity is a perfectly acceptable way to promote your brand. Having them tweet something good about the brand is absolutely acceptable too.  

Mind you, how can you ban a Twitter campaign? Hmmmm interesting issue here of jurisdiction m'lud. I'd have thought anyway. 

Say Lady GaGa tweets about an alcohol brand from America?
Do we stand on the beaches and stop the tweets coming in?
Or collect all the phones of under 18's that day whilst the tweet passes?

Maybe we should ban Lady GaGa?

Now there's a thought.
Get the Advertising standards people on the case.
Get the investigation going.
And let's start banning digital Ads.

Tell you what, ban Wayne Rooney and now I'm with you.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

24 hour deluge in funding. There's money out there.

I was just looking at the number and value of deals going on at the minute on Techcrunch - and it's huge.

Talk of a "bubble" abounds......and, well, just look at these....

Sonos, the producers of high end wireless home audio has raised another 135m usd bringing its total funding to 200m.
White Sky, producing security software raised 7.5m usd
Dropcam raised 12m bringing its funding to over 17m

Codeacademy, who wants to teach the world to code, raised 10m
Cvent, an online event management company acquired SeedLabs for 4.2m
Bright, a job board, raised 6m

Bluebox, focussed on mobile security, raised 9.5m
Onefinestay, which allows out of towners rent their homes, raised 12m
Burst, a mobile sharing concept, raised 3.5m

Tencent buys a minority stake in Epic games, although money undisclosed
VHX in the independent video producer space, got 1.25m
Yext a business listings sync concept, announced a 27m round of funding

Crushpath, which allows salespeople do better deals, got 2m
Shapeways a 3D printing company got 6.2m

Never heard of them? Well that, dear reader, is since yesterday.
Yesterday. And I'm sure there's more.

There's money out there to invest in good ideas and pretty good money too. It seems to me to be a deluge as investors scramble to get into online.

Most of these are US based and I hear time and time again, that if you have a good idea, you'll fund it far quicker on the West coast. But it's really encouraging to see that level of investment going in.

The space grows and grows.
Good to see it.
Great to see it.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

GetGlue. A Social network that's going to be big.

I've mentioned live streaming and the new power of youtube and the Love Film/Netflix drive to generate their own content before. It's all about the role of the web in new broadcasting and indeed, in delivering news to traditional publishers.

Now we have GetGlue (which we've actually had since 2008) driving forward with nearly 3m users (100m "check ins" during 2011) as a Social networking site purely about broadcasting content.

What GetGlue does is that it allows interaction (called "check in") of users about TV, Movies and Music in a social networking way. Largely on mobile, users talk about the entertainment they consume in a like-minded way. It partners with brands like HBO, 20th Century, MTV and Universal Pictures to name really, but a few of its 75+ partners. In turn it rewards users for their comments.

So the TV Guide for example, is not really tailored for your own taste and GetGlue gives you a guide that knows the shows you watch by giving you reminders/alerts but also lets you know when your friends are watching. Integration with Foursquare, also gives you friends locations. Clearly too therefore, it can give you recommendations and in so doing, push content to you on behalf of a broadcaster. That's a real change here and as more and more sites have users, they can talk to those users with relevancy.

It's a key change in the way the web is doing business. No longer do I need to go looking for content, it's coming to me and flipboard a clear another example of that.

Well funded (having raised 12m usd recently on top of other funding) they'll be able to offer more features - like sneak peeks/trailers and interviews as well as giving broadcasters back feedback on say, a pilot show.

It will have big brand appeal too as users in an "entertain me" mode, will be more willing to accept advertising messages. The content has huge Ad traction.

What it does show is a further opportunity in Social that brings users together albeit in a niche way, but does so succesfully enough to achieve high levels of funding. And you thought Social Networking was over?

GetGlue is a brand that's bound to be a success.
And a brand that's cool enough to be integrated into all broadcasting sites. It works for the broadcaster and it works for the user.

Social Media Day in the US is June 30th and one of the participants is Get Glue founder Alex Iskold. You'll find stuff about him on Mashable no doubt, after that.

(If you're still reading Mashable.
And that was last week's blog VC's Mashable and how it can go horribly wrong.)

Have a good look at and see something interesting....from the start. Or in other words, pre-ipo!

LASTLY, One Cry for help An Irish football fan is missing. If you pass it on, it might be the difference in finding him. Photo is on the link.

Monday 18 June 2012

Facebook to leave Nasdaq probably. A tsunami IPO if ever there was one.

The Facebook IPO seems to have been a real watershed for everyone but now it has enveloped Nasdaq

If you recall, the IPO opening was delayed by technology glitches (ironic or wha?) on the exchange which meant that brokers weren't able to determine what was traded and what was not. Really a very poor show, which resulted in Nasdaq now offering some of those brokers secret compensation (millions of dollars) and it has also resulted in some of those brokers taking class actions against Nasdaq.

Now apart from the money involved, here we have a situation where your clients are suing you. The Brokers, on whom Nasdaq depends, are disgruntled to say the least and are suing Nasdaq. So when you get your clients suing you, things aren't looking good for the future.

But it all got worse over the weekend. It would seem that given all of the issues, Facebook are considering moving off the Nasdaq Exchange. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a hammer blow.

Nasdaq (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated quotations) is the 2nd largest exchange after The New York Stock Exchange. It is owned by a private financial services corporation based in NYC, that own a number of other exchanges. Started in 1971 replacing the old "OTC" system, it was the first exchange to start trading online and consequently, very quickly, became the darling of internet companies and most notably in the first bubble.

Famously of course, its former non-executive chairman was Bernie Madoff and one time being the largest market maker on Nasdaq. Madoff started with 5,000 usd from working as a lifeguard and sprinkler installer.

When we (via net works)  floated on Nasdaq in March of 2000, there were 23 other companies floating the same day, so you get its popularity. Hence it was almost the obvious choice for Facebook.

And now that Facebook are thinking of going, it's going to take some of the tech sheen away from Nasdaq coupled with the ongoing damage that the IPO has done to the exchange. If you were going to IPO tomorrow, would you be thinking Nasdaq?

The Facebook IPO has been a tsunami. And the shock waves will be felt for a time yet. 

The SEC investigation into insider dealing has tarnished Wall Street and given the convictions on Friday, some will be shaking in their fine leather shoes.

The Facebook price collapse has tarnished Facebook in what some see as young brat billionaires showing distain for regular investors. 

And it already has reduced the stock price of many other tech companies who won't be sending Facebook Christmas Cards this year.

Not a good picture all round.
Not good for the Social space at all.