Is the NRMA’s carbon footprint campaign making them a profit?

August 6, 2008

The NRMA has launched a website to members that claims will help reduce their carbon footprint. Whilst the intent is to print less paper annual reports, the catch is they will only donate $25,000  on the condition that they receive 200,000 emails (or 10K for 100,000).

You see, for me the maths don’t stack up. If this many people opted not to receive an Annual Report (which is likely to cost a few dollars per copy in print and postage) then the donation ought to be the ACTUAL money being saved by the NRMA on printing – and it should not be conditional on how many email addresses are being collected.

Bottom line: For your effort and email address they will be donating 12.5 cents per person who opt not to receive the paper annual report. C’mon NRMA. Do you really think people would be signing up to this if they could see the real maths here.

So here’s my rant to the NRMA… Put your hand in your wallet and pass on the REAL savings from this campaign to the environment.


Now add in the metaphoric planting of virtual trees which have nothing to do with planting real trees and we have something that I think is rather misleading.


Unfortunately the takeout from most people I showed this to was that this campaign appears to have nothing to do with saving trees, but saving the NRMA internal costs. Tsk tsk.


Australian Photonic Chip to increase Internet speeds by100’s of times

July 9, 2008

Here’s a bit of perky news from down under, CUDOS (Centre for Ultra-high-bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems) have developed a new material ‘chalcogenide’ – a type of glass that allows data to  be transmitted at previously impossible speeds by converting light into electricity – essentially a ‘photonic switch’ that is capable (wait for it) …of being implemented into current fibre infrastructure!

Here’ the bit where I get ranty… and shout at the Powers that Be: Australia, Rudd, Telstra- here’s your chance to correct the slowness shown in bringing Australia up to the forefront of digital. Grab this one and move fast! It looks like a golden opportunity 🙂

First Review of Nokia Music Store Australia.

May 2, 2008

Nokia appear to be taking a big bash at the dominance of  iTunes in the local market. With high hopes I tested it out by attempting to download the free single of the week. Unfortunately It didn’t go quite to plan. I’m quite a Nokia fan (since getting an N95) as most people in here know so this held some promise, I’ve also been waiting for a challenger to iTunes (even though I do mostly like iTunes) but I’m afraid it’s not good news…


First you have to register then install the ‘Nokia Media Bar’ – which is not the best experience. I did not really like the intimidating message below “To Play or Buy music you need to install the Nokia Media Bar”


Here’s the deal. I don’t want any more plugins. I don’t want proprietary players and I don’t need any more music player software… I just want to download my tracks and use them how I want with the software I want! Especially when what I’m installing does not work…


   It took ages to download the track and when I finally got it – this is what I saw…

Then this…


Sorry Nokia – although it looked promising …20 minutes later and I still haven’t been able to listen to anything…you just lost me.

The Worst Vista advert ever made.

April 17, 2008

Microsoft and Vista go all Bruce Springsteen on us in this truly horrific video clip. It’s an ad from hell, right up there with the Cisco Teleconferencing Ad (here) from last year. We want to believe it’s a p%@*take but until mullets are back in fashion, we’re not convinced. Shame really, after the brilliant ‘Bill Gate’s Last Day Parody’ (here) they go and make something like this. Be ready to cringe…

BTW: Who said we weren’t impartial?

Has Absolut gone too far with latest ad campaign?

April 7, 2008

This Absolut campaign run in Mexico showing a map where Mexico dominates about half of the US has caused a big stir. Michelle Malkin is calling it Absolut Arrogance (here) and plenty of other people are piping in. It’s a highly sensitive subject matter in the US particularly on the west coast.

Absolut have enjoyed a pretty amazing run with their brand over the last few years – so have they crossed the line? It appears they might have because they have since issued an apology (below) – but is it too late? Bad news spreads fast on the Internet…


Absolut’s initial response below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Pregnant man or april fool?

March 28, 2008

Is it a hoax or real life weirdness? So Thomas Beatie has told the world (or specifically The Advocate) he’s pregnant. I have a sneaky suspicion this is an April fool to be revealed on Tuesday. Now, I love april fools, but this is just so unoriginal. Many have done the pregnant man thing in the past so not a great choice for an April Fool. Here’s just a few of those man-mums …

Saatchi & Saatchi’s campaign for UK health education featured this pregnant fella. It was their second ever campaign and paved the way for Advertising domination. (Read more here)

Arnold Scwarzenegger played a less-than-convincing mother in “Junior” .. well more convincing than our friend Thomas.


However, my all-time favourite pregnant man has got to be Vyvyan from The Young Ones. He declares to the house mates he’s pregnant, they prepare for the birth only to find out the baby is not quite what they expected.

So let’s see what gets born on April 1st 2008, but I’m not convinced.

The problem with solutions

February 21, 2008


Apparently Picasso once said:

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”

…which is a brilliant statement when you consider it in the context of digital design. The tendency of many visual designers is to rush into the execution of an idea before accurately assessing the original problem. Truly understanding the question is the best way to make sure you’re looking at the greatest number of possible answers.

Rushing to the most familiar answer (the kind that many designers find by slipping into their tried and tested design methods on the computer) means ignoring an infinite number of other more original possibilities.

This rant was inspired by a good book: How to Get Ideas, by Jack Foster. It’s a recommended read for designers trying to avoid the rut of doing everything same same.

License Agreement’s Out Of Control

February 18, 2008


Just updating my favorite piece of music playing software on the weekend I stumbled across a couple of random statements in the licensing agreement. Is this what the human race has progressed to???

It literally says:

“You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.”

Ohh I love this one too, finally acts of God are recognised in a legal document:

“Without limiting the foregoing, under no circumstances shall 3Com be held liable for any delay or failure in performance resulting directly or indirectly from acts of nature, forces, or causes beyond its reasonable control, including, without limitation, Internet failures, computer equipment failures, telecommunication equipment failures, other equipment failures, electrical power failures, strikes, labor disputes, riots, insurrections, civil disturbances, shortages of labor or materials, fires, floods, storms, explosions, acts of God, war, governmental actions, orders of domestic or foreign courts or tribunals, non-performance of third parties, or loss of or fluctuations in heat, light, or air conditioning”


Sony takes 7 months to figure out how to reply to an email.

February 8, 2008

So I bought a very nice HD video Cam (HDRSR7) from Sony last July. Great camera so I even signed up to the MySony website where they were offering some great rewards for purchasing this product with signing up. Strangely, nothing happened so I emailed them (a few times from the form [image shown]).
On the site Sony says they’ll be back to you in 48 hours (pretty good eh!)

FINALLY a response email arrives over 7 months later :


Not quite what I was expecting… but at least they admitted their fault. Thanks Sony 🙂

Now if only I could remember what I was trying to get them to do…???

Updated Mon 11 Feb…:

Read the rest of this entry »

The lazy toads at Telstra

January 16, 2008

lazy telstra shop wokers

I’ve just returned from the Telstra Shop, with my Creative Director, after waiting 1o minutes for someone to serve us. Whilst waiting, I snapped these 4 lazy shop workers with a demo phone, emailed it to myself from the shop and hey presto – it’s up for the world to see. Hardly a tabloid scoop, but I quite like the idea of busting their idle asses with the product they should have been selling me.

Next time you’re near a telstra shop, go in, take a photo on the demo phone and let’s see what gems we can gather.

How creativity is being strangled by the law

November 19, 2007

Stanford professor Larry Lessig talks on TED…

The history and current state of copyright protection law explained. Brilliantly.

And now to the cynicism.

July 10, 2007

Been a while since you’ve read an 11 page rant? You’re in luck! Careful, though. PG language ensues. The impatient need not shy away – the text is rather large.

My thoughts? Relax, dude. The net is still in beta. How about you go help instead of crying.

Viacom Sues YouTube / Google for $1.5b

March 14, 2007

Claiming 160,000 clips have been viewed 1.5 billion times and infringing their copyright, Viacom sues for $1.5b ( $1 per view?). Internet users  on Digg are already calling others to boycott Viacom, labelling them Big Greedy Babies and wondering why the hell Viacom don’t know free advertising when they see it.

It’s interesting to view how the majority of other companies are desperate to get their content viewed on YT and will PAY to do so. Is this something Viacom should think about?

Now this is just my opinon, but I cannot understand why companies fail to embrace the medium and resist the tide of change. Companies create entertainment content for people to watch. How they watch, where they watch, how they find it, is now in the domain of the consumer. We now live in the recommendation age, not the information age. The game has changed. Don’t fight it, work with it.

Top 10 Worst Marketing Gaffes, Flops and Disasters

March 3, 2007

According to the Consumerist website:
Top 10 Worst Marketing Gaffes, Flops, and Disasters – Consumerist:

I’d also recommend these two FLOGs (fake blogs) in being not far behind.
Coke Zero Movement – read more here
Sony – All I want for Xmas is a PSP – read more here

Although I did like this badly named product as pointed out in one of the comments. LOL.

Is coke ripping off the the little guy?

December 14, 2006

Rob from makes some rather interesting observations on recent coca-cola creative…

The bigger question – how much of this is going on? We’ve certainly been the victim of it in the past.
But with the amount of content being produced (there will be coincidences) and natural progression in how we design for digital, where is the line?

For instance : How many times has Josh Davis’s (Praystation) “Tsunami interface” been replicated since it came out a few years ago?

OK: Post any obvious rip off’s here in the comments 🙂

Viral campaigns may be in need of a health check? A deeper look.

October 5, 2006

Most people don’t get viral. In fact, very few do including most of the advertsing agencies in Australia. Personally I beleive the headline in the SMH article below is an unfair reflection of a grossly misunderstood medium. It is not “Viral Campaigns” that need the health check – it’s the agencies trying to jump on the viral bandwagon.
Let me explain why I think there are issues:

I’m going to start by defining what the medium is:
What is viral behaviour? It is an online ‘word of mouth’ transaction promoting someone else’s digital content (this could be an email, website, image, video, blog article etc).
What is viral marketing? – the method of using viral behaviour to engage the user and promote content that has specific marketing goals (brand, offer, subscription, product awareness) etc.

In both cases, the user is not forced to engage, the decision to forward rests with them (so marketing companies cannot “push” like with most other advertising mediums). The very nature of the beast means that in order for viral marketing to work, the guts of the promotion must be driven around something that motivates the user to ‘pass it on’. Otherwise it fails.

– What do most people think viral marketing means? When everybody passes your content around like a tornado resulting in mass exposure. A drop in numbers means a decline in popularity.
This is a common misperception of both the medium and how it is best used and measured. I’ll come onto this later.

So are users cooling off to Viral Marketing?
Now let’s put something into perspective. How can you make a claim that the average consumer is cooling off with regards to word of mouth behaviour online? You can’t. The internet that exists today has been shaped by user choice and word of mouth. Hello… YouTube?! Anyone notice where that came from? A top 10 global website born out of word of mouth online behaviour. No,  it’s not a campaign but it leads strongly into the following point: Here’s the fact: Consumers aren’t cooling off to viral marketing. The problem is that (agencies) that claim to be producing viral campaigns do not understand the medium properly and their creative is failing to engage. Our consumer enjoys viral, but they won’t pass it on unless it meets the primary psychological factor for viral behaviour – the motivation for the referral. We have a stack of exit poll results from our viral campaigns that stand testiment to the fact that consumers LIKE and APPRECIATE viral campaigns that are relevent and engaging. So – don’t confuse ‘numbers’ from one or two campaigns with what users are really doing when it comes to viral behaviour online. They are more active in this medium than ever before.

The next common mistake with viral – Measuring success by number of unique visitors in the shortest space of time possible. (Groan)… now I cannot understand why when the industry talks about “Viral” we end up with “Big Ad” as a stand out. Yes it was passed around but it is a terrible example of the medium working well. Here we have a medium that doesn’t just reach – it can touch and interact. Big Ad is just about the worst case study for viral you could ever use. Viral should be judged by its impact and results based on the brief, not simply by views alone. There are DOZENS of measurables that could deem viral a success. Under the right circumstances a successful viral campaign may only reach one person (example: to invoke a political change) for it to be a success ALTERNATIVELY a viral campaign might take 3 years to reach the numbers needed. So let’s start keeping things in context when it comes to viral.

What most pundits in the marketplace fail to understand is that there IS a science to viral. It is NOT unpredictable and it IS 100% measurable. It is a containable and viable form of marketing. Amnesia has 8 years experience of viral now. We’ve studied it, we’ve analysed the mechanics, motivators and detractors. We’ve even discovered that alll viral campaigns break down into six distinct catagories. We’ve identified seeding points and we’ve even got our own algorithm that identifies whether a viral campaign will spread. We have dozens of case studies to prove our points. We won the first ever ADMA award for online marketing that was a pure Viral Campaign. All our clients (Pepsi, Xbox, Unilever, IKEA etc) have embraced the medium with enormous success.

Last year we produced (which won a Webby Award). $0.00 media spend and 6.5 million games, 2.8 million visits and counting. But thats not the point… We measured 1.6 million distinct brand interactions that measured the users engagement and understanding of the communication message. Now THAT is what viral marketing is about.

Another recent campaign recorded 90% on an exit poll from the viral saying they intended to make that product their next purchase. Try getting that info from a TVC! This medium is interactive – use it!

If you just want eyeballs – then try 38 million impressions on messenger for 20K each month. Viral cannot buy you those numbers. Am I making sense here?

Our site for Lipton ( will do very well and it will meet all the business objectives laid out during briefing. It will engage and inform the relevent messaging, but the user will make their own mind up if they want to pass it on. It’s NOT a pure viral campaign but part of a carefully planned digital ecosystem designed to produce results. There’s no mystery in what we are doing.

For the time being we will continue to watch the marketing world ‘fail to understand’ viral – the most exciting and brutally honest medium there has ever been. Articles will continue to be written about viral based on education from pundits who shouldn’t be talking about it in the first place.

This isn’t a rant – it might sound like one, but we love the fact that other agencies aren’t able to channel the medium consistently like us. Here’s the final point – The term “VIRAL” deserves better. The web experience we enjoy today is born from VIRAL because it is the users that choose how the web lives or dies. We (Agencies) do not control the experience, we have to tap into what people want and need. Negative words used for ‘VIRAL’ should be exclusively reserved for those claiming to understand the medium that clearly don’t.

🙂 Iain.

Is the worlds smallest phone too small?

September 27, 2006

Urr. Yes it is.

…and I have a predictive formula that fits nicely:
Commerical product + Guiness Book of Records Claim = One way trip to the ministry of bad design.

Adam Frucci’s review:

It’s tempting to start a debate on function versus form here but looking at this phone is hurting my eyes and I’m already worried about someone accidently losing one in their ear.

ANZ Robot call centre. Misleading advertising?

September 11, 2006

Has anyone seen this ad?
I quite liked it when it aired, and being an ANZ customer, it filled me with warm fuzzy wonderful emotions. OK OK, not really.

The basic premise is that all other call centres are answered and run by robots, but somehow ANZ‘s call centre is full of people…

…Seriously, this is quite deluded as I found out today.
I spent a good 20 minutes pressing hash this, pin that, card number this, #1 #3 #2 and several redials … before I got to speak to someone in person, who ultimatley gave me the phone number of my local branch.(Yes that was all I needed, and no, ANZ don’t include branch contact numbers on their website).

The best bit of all was that I jokingly asked the nice lady who finally answered if she was a robot, and she told me I was the third person that day to ask her the same thing. There you go.

ANZ, unfortunatley I have to say in the nicest possible way, your TV ad is a load of b@LL#cks.
It’s a shame because it is a good ad.

If you feel compelled to try it yourself… here’s the number : 13 13 14

Reader comment challenge:
Eventually someone will find this rant through search so if anyone is really bored, I challenge you to post your times trying to speak to someone in person at ANZ using the number above.