Put Advertising in your own videos

January 16, 2009

Researchers from Stanford University have developed new artificial intelligence software called ZunaVision, which can place a still image or video on almost any surface inside a video clip. For example, in a video displaying a painting of the sea hanging on the wall in a living room, the picture on the wall can be edited and replaced by a video of Barak Obama giving a speech.


Make Me Super – by Kodak

October 17, 2008

Yes – that’s me being a superhero… in Kodak’s shameless grab to print you favourite pic onto a mug, mousemat or deck of cards. It’s still cheesy enough to be likable and fun.

www.makemesuper.com

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BTW: Is it just me or is the sound broken?
(Link to the one I made is here: http://www.makemesuper.com/index.html?videoid=1_74116&imgid=212147&gender=male&name=eunmac )


UN Voices – Image recognition to Mobile Audio

September 3, 2008

Although this is about 4 months old I thought this campaign was worth blogging because it is by far the best digital led campaign I’ve seen by a traditional agency – in this case Saatchi & Saatchi. A lot of people in adland obviously did not ‘get it’ – questions around why would someone bother to take a photo are easy to find, but we would argue that putting a measurable element in an Outdoor is gutsy and that the campaign was a great conversations starter packed with emotion – which is what digital is all about.

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The Outdoor ads.

How it worked: Take a photo (outdoor billboard) with your phone and the audio story is sent for you to listen to. The website is also very well constructed even though the UG comments feature deserved to be more prominent.

Whilst Saatchis did claim at launch that this was new technology, we would argue this was not true. Companies such as Mobot (here) have been offering these services for several years and they have been used by companies such as Ministry of Sound and MX magazine in campaigns. We’ll forgive Saatchi’s on this occasion because this is a beautiful campaign.

http://www.unvoices.org.au/

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An Audi R8 image PR nightmare in Google

August 4, 2008

This is a classic example of things going wrong for a brand. I just watched a Top Gear clip of the Audi R8 which inspired me to do a quick search in Google for “r8″…

Oh dear… it’s an SEO (Search engine optimisation) branding nightmare – the first image that jumps up is a burnt out Audi R8. Given that around 97% of car purchases now involve some online research, this is not what you want people to see straight up.

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The unfortunate Audi R8 image that would send shivers down the Audi marketing team’s spines…
 
So what do you do when Image Search Results go bad?
Here’s some small tips for a healthy life in the chaotic land of Search / SEO:
1. Listen | Observe – this means keeping an eye on what’s coming up in your search results. If you don’t know about it, you can’t fix it.
2. Play a role in the community especially the blogosphere – make sure high ranking sites carry correctly named/tagged images that will index in search. Know the bloggers that influence your results.
3. Optimise your own site as much as possible for images, meta data and other techniques. There are many companies (including ours, plug plug) that can help with this.
4. SEM – Make sure your search engine marketing is in place (in the instance above I did not receive any SEM ads whatsoever.
5. Run a Digital PR campaign. There are various creative techniques which could encourage a large amount of people to get involved with images that are positive for your brand.
6. Provide assets to the masses. Allow users to take your images (the ones you want seen) and distribute freely.
7. Use the social networks. Nothing stopping brands playing a role in the community in an open transparent manner.
8. Create an official Blog. A properly maintained, healthy blog by a brand can do wonders in search. Bear in  mind a blog needs to work (have great content, audience participation and avoid the corporate BS).
9. Talk to Google. Whilst they’re not going to change their indexing algorithms they are a helpful and good natured company and may be able to offer advice.
10. Talk to the site which houses the bad image/content. They may be quite happy to run another more positive story to help, without compromising or asking them to delete their original content. (Avoid censorship – that would be a big no-no).

Unfortunately bad news is big news. If a big ranking site pushes something you don’t like in Search, the only surefire method is to outgun that site in the digital space …and this is a time consuming game.

The lowdown for brands to prevent a search disaster:
Make sure you have a digital strategy, an SEO / SEM strategy, the assets to make it work, a team that is watching …and get it in place as early as possible.


Montauk Monster Pictures. The story explained…

August 2, 2008

Below are all the photos of the ‘Montauk Monster’. Always interesting to see a story spread like wildfire on the net. It contains all the classic ingredients of common ‘fact or fiction’ viral story. Let’s take a closer look at the Montauk Monster images, the facts, and the story behind the creation of a new legend.

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The ‘Discoverers of the Montauk Monster’ being interviewed.

A second set of photos from another eyewitness:
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Is this a velociroflcoptersaurus?

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The earlier photos above taken by a different source (Christina Pampalone) confirms that there was little doubt of the validity of there being a carcass… but clearly it’s more doglike at this point… and yes, no beak!

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Back to the other angle from the “beak photo set”, released in a video interview today.

So from a marketing perspective here’s the breakdown of why I believe this story has traveled so easily and captured our imagination.

The secrets of urban legend creation:
1. Monster! Yes we all want to believe really. The unknown, the possibility of fiction becoming fact is a pull for most of us and a break from the daily drudge of the same old news.
2. Believability – The photo is enticing enough for anyone, including experts to take a second look. Found by the sea which we know holds many secrets makes it even more enticing.
3. Credibility. Found by three women, apparently normal everyday people with little to gain from a hoax although they have stashed the carcass… I’m sure this will be worth a buck now the story is so big!
4. No instant debunk. If a story is put to bed quickly by credible sources/multiple experts then interest is usually lost quickly. In this case we’ve heard little to counter the story which gives reason to believe and thus amplification continues. Interviews conveniently suggest that scientists (urrr… which scientists are those please?) have already agreed it’s a not a recognised species – and that’s enough for most to take it as fact.
4. Lack of information. The less we know, the more we crave. The less we find, the more we look, the more we ask, the more we spread the story.
5. Ego complex: We are the experts …Yes it’s a chance to tell the world via your comments and friends that you knew it was real, or a complete hoax. Hey, aren’t we great for figuring it out first. We call this the competitive-ego complex in here (when talking about viral memes).
6. It’s not the end of the story. Yes the carcass has been stored away (you’d think they’d put it on ice) but apparently it’s decaying away in a friends backyard waiting for the men in black to arrive. 
7. Mainstream media amplification: Once the story makes TV and press we crave additional information. Just  as with the Corey Worthington story a few months back, the web is just a click away for more info after the national news. Off we head to Google…
8. Story Availability. You and others found this page through Google and there will be thousands of other sites that will spawn and index this monster very highly. Yes, finding This monster is easy!

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Didn’t we do well! Breaking story site Gawker’s traffic took a welcome boost from the monster’s arrival…

Destined for urban legend status: So is it a new species, monster, alien life form? One things for sure, if it is proved not to be one of the above, this story will simply join conspiracy theory sites and the thousands of other stories on urban legend site Snopes, ready to resurface a dozen times over the next few years.

It does not look like a marketing hoax from where we stand but there is no reason to believe too much until the final facts unfold. Most likely this is just a lot of hype over something we simply can’t see properly.

Not the first time we went crazy over a sea monster carcass:
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This famous catch (here) in 1997 re-ignited our imagination in sea monsters in the similar way when caught by a Japanese fishing boat. It was so amazing …they decided to throw the carcass back into the ocean, not even keeping a single bone. Hmmm.

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But the myth was so popular and widely lauded, it even got it’s own stamp.

Marketing lessons from sea monsters:
Virally, there are many lessons to be learned from the spread of urban myths and tall tales that can be applied to social media marketing. It doesn’t mean you need to set out to fool people or become friends with ET, but we (the consumer) will generally respond to key elements from the above stories if distributed with just enough (but not too much) information to make us think twice about what we’re looking at.

File under “They want to believe.” 🙂