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Welcome, My research interests are e-marcomms, in particular the use of viral advertising and blogs. If you have any comments about my blog or want to send me some information please send me an e-mail.

Updated: 2017-12-11T03:06:35.446+00:00


VBMA now on ning


The viral and buzz marketing association has now set up a network on ning. If you are a pratising marketer or researcher get along to and join - or email and then I'll send you an invite. Networks work just ask the facebook folks.

Finally some spontaneous undergraduate fervour for new media


In the two years since I started delivering Cybermarketing courses students remain unimpressed in general by the possibilities of the Internet and Connected Communities. This is inspite of the growth of Myspace and Bebo
Finally I have met a student at an undergraduate level who is enthused by the opportunity presented by new media. Here's her blog.
Perhaps the movement towards the adoption of new media at all levels is now gaining momentum.

Speaking Engagements 1 - Crowded House


I’ll send a viral quiz from Virgin music that has the title of this blog as an answer on Monday, but first some thoughts on a speaking engagement from Wednesday.

Four members of the VBMA ( delivered a panel session to a crowded room at the Internet World Conference ( in Earls Court on Wednesday 10th May.


The main themes were the need to integrate the new tools and technologies that can deliver viral marketing and that these initiatives must be integrated into the overall campaigns.


Questions came from the floor and these questions frequently considered viral to consist of bad taste jokes with scantily clad models.  This is an element of viral, but it’s much broader and can relate to niche groups.  As Justin Kirby (a panel member and MD of DMC responded for mass brands that technique can work but for the majority of organisations viral tools and techniques and connected marketing offer a considerable opportunity to reach target markets in a relevant and effective manner.


The other speakers were Russell Goldsmith ( ) who delivered a fascinating piece on webcasting using Nintendo as an example and Andy Whittaker ( who discussed big name FMCG examples where viral was integrated into the direct marketing campaign.


The session had attendees standing in the aisles and the interest and hence opportunity for organisations in this area was very evident.



It might be a parody but it is distinctive.


This picture links to google video and will play a film allegedly created by Microsoft as a parody of the branding used by Microsoft. I picked up the story via Adrants The folks at Adrants were slightly critical of Microsoft in the piece. I wonder whether this was justified?
Yes, of course Microsoft's branding is not as aesthetically pleasing (if at all) but it is Microsoft's. The clarity of format, style and even the "mandatories" allow the Microsoft products to be clearly identified on the shelf. Buying decisions are made easier by brands and the heritage and associations of the Microsoft name are well known. In many product choices I am sure Microsoft is the salient brand and parody as this might be, beauty is not a requirement for effectiveness.

A Threat to National Decency



A call from a reporter returned my attention to this Australian Tourist Board advertisement.
This advertisement was not cleared by the Broadcast Clearance Centre
Blooming heck the word "bloody" was considered too strong for television. I believe that there are standards of behaviour, but this antiquated censorship of a term used as an intensive rather than anything more malicious is plainly ridiculous. Why? Every weekend the Sunday papers contain ruder and more vulgar language but nobody censors the material, and the programme makers would often consider the term quite demure in comparison with the more extreme dialogue regularly used.
Rather a coup for the Australian Tourist Board who will get a much greater bang for their buck with the coverage this will receive in my view.

Best for a while Frog vs. Fly


I subscribe to an email newsletter from Eatmail and sometimes the virals are good, sometimes bad and sometimes downright ugly. This week I received one for VW cars that was in the good category. A well-produced clip that reinforces the brand values of the car brand. I guess some animal lovers might complain but it's not getting close to the Lee & Dan inspired creative from a previous year in terms of shock value.
I guess a Frog's favourite car might be a Beetle

His and hers dressing gowns


This parody for Amnesty International was sent via on Friday. It is fabulous parody of shopping television. The tone of voice and the script used by the presenters is spot on in my opinion, that makes me sound like an expert about shopping channels, so I might edit it later!

On a more serious note the difference between the effect caused by such a light-hearted portrayal and a vivid and more violent portrayal of the effects of the arms trade is open to debate. On one hand there is an argument that viewers are " de-sensitised" and not affected by the violent work on the other the argument that the vivid produces results e.g. Barnardo's.
It might be unpleasant but my vote goes to the nastier and darker portrayals, I suspect that across the board whether for drink, drugs or guns these campaigns produce better results.

Agent Provocateur Make Further Use of Viral


Even the PR gurus are using viral techniques to spread the word in a "new" media age where connected marketing is growing.
Yesterday I was sent the following press release and link for the new "teaser" (no irony intended) for Agent Provocateur.


I found your blog earlier and thought of something that might interest
you ..... You may have seen some news around the latest viral campaign
from Agent Provocateur. The company has picked Real as its technology
partner for building and hosting the microsite, around which the
seductive campaign is based. The trailer for an exclusive eight-minute
movie, directed by Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) goes live today.

If you have any questions, or would like further information, please let
me know.



This was accompanied by the following press release.

Agent Provocateur picks Real for new movie-based online campaign

Luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has chosen RealNetworks to
design and host a co-created microsite as part of it's latest online
campaign entitled 'Tied up at the Office'. The campaign centres on a
tantalising eight minute film directed by Mike Figgis (Leaving Las
Vegas, Cold Creek Manor) which promises to seduce the viewer.

The 'Tied up at the Office' trailer is available from today at with exclusive coverage
appearing across many of the international RealGuides, Real's broadband
entertainment portal. Visitors to the site can register to receive an
invitation to view the full-length film which premieres online on 9th

Piers Heaton-Armstrong, European Marketing Director, Real commented,
"Agent Provocateur is a stunning brand to work with. As one of fashion's
leading labels, they have really embraced the digital realm and have had
great success with viral marketing. We are excited to have the RealGuide
and RealPlayer associated with the world famous, stylish brand that is
Agent Provocateur."

I have asked the PR at Axicom to answer some specific questions to build my research information relating to the campaign and others organised by Real. I wonder whether or not the new media battle is gradually gaining ground on the traditional media - perhaps Agent Provocateur would have used Cinema? Is the cost advantage worth the lack of specific knowledge about the reach, frequency, weight and continuity of a media plan? Is it really a database builder in disguise. If it's a bit off both then interactivity in advertising is certainly apparent.

I guess one of the key considerations for all will be when will the tipping point be reached? When the TV channels get totally interactive or when broadband speeds up or perhaps when a total merge of hardware occurs across the audience?

Honda - Yes Again - Choir


Yet again I find myself praising a Honda advertisement. The new advertisement for the Honda Civic using the choir is another creative and emotionally stimulating piece of work from Wieden + Kennedy for Honda.

You can watch the advertisement through the Honda website just click the image below. (image)
This very stimulating advertisement will be supported with a media budget of £3.2 million according to the Media Guardian

Honda are definitely creating some original and interesting work.

The end for TV?


In this blog I often contradict the naysayers who argue that TV advertising is in decline for reasons related to media consumption are exaggerated. This article in The Guardian does indicate that Internet budgets are increasing but still only 4% of the total budget thus supporting my view that the naysayers are premature in their rhetoric - however the article confirms something more concerning.

It confirms that when times are tough companies are slashing advertising budgets. It might look better when publishing the P&L and Balance Sheet at the year end, but surely advertising and marketing spend is an investment in the future of the brand/organisation, it is not a minor expense like coffee for meetings.

These organisations need to get some coffee for the meetings and start smelling it!

Who will tell the customers about your brands if you do not? We might not understand precisely how advertising works, but one thing is for sure it does.

Vodafone under the tree


The new Vodafone Christmas Jingle advertisement has recently been playing in my head.

Is this a good thing for advertising?  Under the tree is the name of the tune and I can’t get it out of my head.  

So I can remember the jingle but could I remember the brand if I was not so preoccupied with advertising and how it works?

You can listen (and buy if you want) to the advertisement music here

The music is by the Water Babies.

You can watch the band perform it here

The advertisement itself can be seen here



Advertising and music – irritating for me but some how a great Christmas effort fitting the brand and allowing a number of sponsorships to be shown, although the Man Utd one will be ending soon.


Honda Do It Again


Another fabulous advertisement from Honda. The advertisement shows a man singing along to a sound track of "Impossible Dream" sung by Andy Williams. As the man sings he uses various forms of transport to travel through some breathtaking scenery.
Take a look at the advertisement here.
Honda are almost single-handedly invigorating the TV advertising slot with a series of great advertisements from Cog, through Grrr to this new advertisement. I hope that it assists with the development of the brand. The brave team at Honda deserve some credit for their efforts.

I'd appreciate your views


A bit of shameless self-promotion today, and the promotion of my co-authors who have recently worked together under the editorship of Justin Kirby and Dr. Paul Marsden.

The book - Connected Marketing is published. Why not take a look at the micro-site for the book?


There is also a quiz to promote it over at adland:

Good luck and I hope you buy and enjoy the book
If you do tell me and if you don't tell me too.

Advice For Viral Advertisers


Here's a url I received from Justin Kirby of DMC (

"sincere viral advice for those unfamiliar with sarcasm"

This is a very amusing take on the world of viral from a more serious group of brand builders in the field. I am let smiling yet wondering whether or not the pioneering element of semi-clad women and horrific images is perhaps just a precursor to success in the manner of Channel 4 ( and five ( as TV stations.

Alan Sugar and Advertising


In the Sunday Times yesterday I read about a speech Mr Sugar gave at a marketing conference . In a similar vein to his recent piece in the Independent Mr Sugar criticised TV advertising because it interrupts the programmes and is too arty . I enjoy his earthy delivery but I am slightly cynical given Mr Sugar 's self promotion and the fact that he stars in a series that could be described as a one hour advertisement . My view is that the quality of the advertisements ' content is the important element .

Online Advertising Predictions


Today's Marketing Vox contains some very interesting predictions for advertising in 2006.
Marketing Vox Top 10 for 2006
Further details can be found at 24/7Real Media Website
I am very interested in the brand building opportunity that is predicted from SEM. Simple copywriting will come into play with the links created by the Google searches. A real opportunity for a new area of copywriting that works for brands rather than very functional "buy your stuff here" wording.
The predictions are very interesting, but always bear in mind that 30% of the population are digi-phobic according to Dave Chaffey the Internet guru. So although the trends are occurring perhaps the "real mass market revolution" is a little further away than the net based workers and surf junkies would like to think.

Cravendale - so good the cows want it back


What a fabulous campaign. Milk so good the cows want it back

This shows how great advertising can differentiate the most standard commodity product.

In my local supermarket 1 litre of Cravendale is 60p per litre vs. 47.8p for "standard semi-skimmed

Take a look it's a great piece of work

Very pleasing on the eye Bravia Advertisement

The above url links to the making of the newly released Sony Bravia advertisement. It's a great advertisement with a full information website all about the advertisement and its making. It's hard enough to catch a normal super ball but 250,000 of them on the Streets of San Francisco!

About time too


As Apple announces it's move to do for video what iPod did for music I can only reflect upon the superb opportunity that this presents. The squashing of Bit Torrent and accompanying websites that offered sharing of video files was a protectionist and anti-market move by the distributors of video. At least the long-term fiasco in the music industry due to the legal cases against Napster et al might be avoided. The consumer has clearly shown that he/she wants video downloads. The companies that can make this happen profitably deserve success, and hopefully the folks that place obstacles in the path of the free market will get what they deserve.

Internet Spend Outstrips Outdoor


UK Internet spend has started to outstrip Outdoor spend according to new figures published by e-marketer.
Broadband penetration in the UK has also outstripped US take up of the faster service. It seems that the advertisers' money is following the audience, and quite right too.
The issue this poses - what's the future for Radio??? Even iPod is doing video on demand. Will the car and the workplace eventually become the only venues for the consumption of radio?

Even in the US - too many Ads is a turn off


More material to add to the "Is the 30 sec spot dying?" debate. It appears from a recent USA today article that I picked up from Media Buyer Planner that the audience is complaining about the 6 act format for TV shows. In the UK "Lost" is an example of this format. Perhaps the stations have overstepped the mark? The audience wants to watch the show and in an era of "must see TV" complaints about the amount of commercials during the programme might seem an inevitable side effect. What price the premium slot just before or after the show if this reaction escalates?

Listenomics - The next new marketing term?


In Bob Garfield's piece in Adage the argument that the old media is dead or at least redundant is presented. The issue I have with this argument is that only selective, qualitative data offer the basis. Americans watch more TV, UK Internet growth is plateauing, so the data indicate that we can only consume so much but our traditional media consumption is still a key part of the mix. Yes the media world is changing, and yes people embrace products e.g. iPod; Converse and others but this is no new, new, big, big thing it's just an extension of the existing. This extension relies upon the old media delivering a platform from which these organisations can operate their new ideas. These companies are maximising the value of a connected marketing world and not, I suggest, finding themselves in a new place with new rules.

The growing influence of conversations via the Internet


In this short piece Jim Meskauskas highlights the growing influence of Internet based conversations.  Companies are increasingly aware of the role that WOM plays in the fortunes of their products and the example of P&G's response to the coffee machines provides clear evidence.
The Cluetrain Manifesto and the words of Seth Godin seem to be ringing true.  Set against this the increased consumption of TV in the USA - over 8 hours a day and marketers and advertisers are faced with a growing complexity.  Even though market research is available at their finger tips by scanning blogs and the Internet consumers are consuming more media, and more different formats of media.  This complicates the target - it's not necessarily moving, it's just that there are so many of them.  How can you converse with a customer base that is the size of P&G's????

Fabulous new Guinness Advertisement


Despite siren voices calling for the end of the traditional 30 second TV commercial Guinness has delivered a fabulous new 50 second advertisement. It is a wonderful journey back in time and uses the tag line "Good Things Come to those who wait." It's a wonderful piece of marketing communications work with a return to an old popular tag with superb cut through creativity - put money on it for next year's Clios is my view - Have your view here

Internet Ad spend on the way up again Bubble or Trend or Both


Is reporting that Internet Ad revenues have risen again.

NEW YORK ( -- Internet advertising revenue for the first six months of 2005 hit a record new high, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, released at the Mixx Conference and Expo yesterday in New York.


Ad revenue for the second quarter totalled slightly less than $3 billion. For the first six months, revenue reached about $5.8 billion, which is a 26% increase over the first half of 2004.


The advertising "dollars" and pounds  are being directed towards the Internet.  Is this a sign of the increasing value of the Internet to Advertisers, or just another bubble.  Time will tell, but I suspect that the quality of content and speed of access made possible by Broadband subscription ISP services are driving media time towards the Internet and with it the advertising money.