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Thursday, November 30, 2006

How Asda Stole Christmas

Wallmart really is the Global Grinch of Christmas. Asda's woes continued as they had to recall 4 batches of pre-lit Christmas trees because a small number of damaged bulbs could cause an electric shock. I think it serves people right for shopping at Asda in the first place. Bring on explosive christmas crackers at Tesco's.

In any case, Asda has been a lot slower in it's online expansion comapred to its competitors. By contrast, Tesco's controls two thirds of UK online grocery orders and currently covers 95% of the UK, while Sainsbury's covers 80%. We'll see a big push by ASDA in 2007 to further its online growth and achieve 80% national coverage in distribution (compared with 50% currently)...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Frucall - Another good idea from the United States of Arse

Another good idea from America. We've already seen the programme that lets you take a photo of a product, scan it in and then get the price off the internet.

Now you can call up a number and get the service to tell you how much your product is.

"But," says Malcolm, "I can use froogle on my phone for more or less free to find out the exact price!"

That's true, but this product should be easier to use. People understand the concept of calling a number and typing in an easy to use number. There are more barriers to be overcome with using WAP.

We'll see if anyone gets around to launching a similar product in the UK. I was impressed with that service that identifies songs on the weekend, one of the guys round our house had subscribed to it. He pays £12 a month (£12!!!!) and can call the service as often as he likes. It identifies songs and sends him a text.

A really good service would also include the option of sending him an email with handy (affiliate) links to all the CDs on Amazon containing his song.

Lets get programming...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Likeness search

A new search engine concept where you can find something that looks like something else. At the moment you can only choose from predefined pictures on their site, e.g. P Diddy's watch, and then find similar items.

The nice bit is that you can then highlight a small portion of the picture and search for images with the same shape and/or colour. So you could find a watch with a little bit of detail you liked.

And of course all the results have affiliate links to buy the item.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Teachers want ban on cyber-bully pupils | Schools special reports |

Cyber bullying might be a serious problem. I suspect that it's mainly a made up problem...

I don't see how posting a picture of your teacher superimposed with pornography counts as 'cyber bullying' as opposed to slander. I'm sure children would understand that they would get in trouble for doing this, and would understand someone being punished for doing this.

Therefore I don't think this is news - it's easy to make fun of someone and I think you should expect to get in trouble if they're more important than you.

I'll see what happens if I doctor a picture of Tim and post it up here.

LiveSimplicity discussion forum

Phillips are jumping onto the 'discuss' bandwagon.

AOL, Orange and even HSBC have attempted to increase consumer engagement with their brands by featuring this kind of discussion.

This one seems quite lame - either they haven't promoted the discussion aggressively or they have gone a bit over the top with their moderation. I had a quick browse around and cuoldn't find anything even mildly contentious.

Why run this kind of website if you're not going to establish some kind of reason to return to it. The only thing you're going to do is annoy the people who were fleetingly interested in your brand.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Google to make a media buying OS?

According to this article:

"If you read through all the announcements... it becomes clear that... Google is building... an operating system for advertising… one that will work across all media... [using] technology in a manner that devalues... traditional industries by extracting inefficiencies in existing processes."

It's not clear, it's a lot of conjecture. But let's suppose this is true.

The 'OS' would not really be that much of a bigger step than buying media through a network. It's an extension of Google Adwords for other media - and as an agency that buys through Google Adwords, that's something we use rather than compete with.

And remember, this all assumes that media companies are all going to happy to work with Google in this way - the smaller one maybe will, but Google has hardly had success with book publishers on Google Print.

It would be nice if their system could prioritise media based on performance (just as CMS tries to - and that's with online, the most measurable of media), but call me naively sceptical if I say you can't replace human planning with an algorithm.

At the 'worst', this could force online planners to move beyond standard format advertising, looking to microsites, advertorials and stuff like this Second Life that we hear so much about. And if it does, I think that will be a good thing.

Friday, November 10, 2006

New from Gmail

I like Gmail and all the small innovations they add to the e-mail experience. But sometimes I wonder if the people at Google have run out of ideas.

New from Gmail today:

Embarassment-reducing new message notifications
Ever replied to a message only to find out that someone sent a better, smarter reply right before you? Now, if someone sends a reply while you're in the middle of reading a conversation (or replying to it), you'll get a notification that a new message has arrived. Click "update conversation" to see what you’ve missed.

Wow, that really is embarassing.


Some people want Myspace.

Others want Labour space.

The reason for Myspace's popularity was the fact that they used the music scene to accelerate the expansion of their network. Labour looks to be trying to ride the same wave with politics.


Not really - I think they need to be a neutral party in order to get a good number of people joining.

I think it might also only be open to Labour members. I will join so that I can proudly display a homage to our glorious leader.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Great idea

This is how people become rich - simple idea.

Simply finds a quick item that you can add to your basket to qualify for free shipping from Amazon. Haven't checked yet, but I bet this has an Amazon affiliate link on it.

Winner. Who wants to help me make this for the UK?

russell davies: how to be interesting

Good article by Russell Davies on a core skill for planners - being interesting.

He's got a good point - in order to communicate our ideas effectively, we need to be interesting and we need to deliver the ideas in an interesting way.

Russell is the person who came up with the overall theme for the recent Honda campaigns (there's a number of good bits and bobs about it on the W&K site).

I think we should definitely try and follow his ideas for a week or two.

There's a blog following similar lines here (

Starting next week, I want to see people publishing photos of something interesting they saw that day. Should produce some talking points!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Google expolits the offline advertising medium $$$

Via an Alpha test program, Google will offer some of its Adwords customers a chance to advertise in newspapers in a similar way to how they currently advertise on the web. This is Google's first step into the sale and placement of display advertising in newspapers and sees the company make a shift from its online focus to traditional advertising. The platform enables advertisers to select available inventory and upload their artwork, while publishers then decide whether to accept their offers.

The initial test takes place across US participants including Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and the Washington Post. The search engine thinks newspapers and other offline media can extend their reach by adopting low-cost ad buying models developed online. It is planning to start trials of an online brokerage for radio ads by the end of this year.

"This is money that our advertisers would spend with us if we had the online inventory for them to spend it on", said Tom Phillips, Google's director of print advertising.

"For advertisers, it gives them access to a network of newspapers through an online interface and the ability to potentially reach a new customer base," Spokesman Michael Mayzel told Reuters.

It does seems that this wiil be initially tailored for small advertisiors who wish to appear on classifieds. Google is offering the service for free during the tests, but plans to take a “modest” commission from ad sales if the system goes live.